We're committed to helping you buy with confidence

A pre-approval is one of the first steps in determining how much you can afford for your new home purchase. Think of it as your golden ticket or the go-ahead to start making offers on homes.

Many new homebuyers walk into the process without a lot of information on mortgage rates, total costs, or their down payment options. A pre-approval can give you a better understanding of what type of loan you’ll qualify for, your purchase price range, interest rate, and more importantly your estimated payment.

By getting pre-approved upfront, you’ll feel prepared, and it will also let sellers and real estate agents know you’re serious about buying.

There are different types of pre-approvals or pre-qualification offers. You'll want to determine which one is best for you (learn more about the differences between the two below).

To start the pre-approval process, you can submit an application online or reach out to a Home Loan Consultant.

Understanding what it means to be pre-qualified, pre-approved and fully credit approved

Sometimes these terms are used interchangeably, but they can have different meanings to various lenders, and each one carries a different level of weight and clout. We’ll explain how we define them below.

Where to start?
Depending on where you are in your homebuying and financing journey, you’ll probably want to start in chronological order – by getting pre-qualified, then pre-approved and/or fully credit approved (optional).

To make offers on homes, you’ll need to be pre-approved. If you’re ready to buy and move in within the next few months, a full credit approval can give you an advantage over other buyers. A full credit approval is not required to make offers but think of it as a fast pass to speed up the process, or as the extra icing on top of the cake.

Here’s the breakdown of the benefits and differences between a pre-qualification, pre-approval, and full credit approval.



Full credit-approval

Overview An estimate of how much you
can borrow
Preliminary review of how much you can borrow Complete review of your loan upfront;
Conditional loan approval
Process Typically a quick conversation with a Home Loan Consultant Submit an application, reviewed by Home Loan Consultant Submit an application, reviewed by Home Loan Consultant + Underwriter
Documentation No documentation provided Application
Hard credit pull 1,
income and asset documents
Hard credit pull 1,
income and asset documents
+ Underwriting review
Expiration N/A 120 days from date issued
(may need updated documents)
120 days from date issued
(may need updated documents)
Bottom line Idea of what you may qualify for; good if you're starting the process Required for making offers;
shows that you're serious as a buyer
Best type of approval with greatest confidence;
speeds up process

Two women discuss their finances with a Patelco Home Loan Consultant.
Ready to take the next step?
If you’re ready to buy, we’re ready to help. Reach out to a Home Loan Consultant or submit an application to get started.

Connect with a Home Loan Consultant

Buying a home is an important milestone and one of the biggest financial decisions you’ll make. But it can be stressful if you’re unsure of what to expect.

Our Home Loan Consultants will answer all of your questions so you’re well prepared and informed every step of the way.

Whether it’s your first home, a vacation property or an investment purchase, our Home Loan Consultants will meet with you to discuss your plans and goals and help you get pre-approved for the home you’ll love.

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1 A hard credit inquiry is a request to check your credit. When you choose to proceed with a loan application, we will request your full credit report (also known as a “hard” credit pull) from one or more credit reporting agencies, and this may affect your credit score.