New York home sellers have hordes of buyers to choose from—so why should they give their sweet apartment or house to little ol’ you? Here’s one major way to get the edge you need in this competitive market: Get pre-approved for a mortgage.
Mortgage pre-approval is a process in which lenders review your finances to determine how much they will loan you for a home. The resulting pre-approval letter shows home sellers you’re serious, and can put your money where your mouth is.
Mortgage pre-approval vs. pre-qualification: What’s the difference?
Pre-qualification is less rigorous: You give the lenders an overview of your financials, and they estimate how much you might qualify for. It’s a good starting point if you need a gauge of how large a mortgage you can afford, but other than that, it isn’t worth much.
Pre-approval doesn’t mean you’re locked in with one lender; nor is that lender tied to you. It just gives your offer the necessary gravitas to grab a seller’s attention.
Paperwork needed for pre-approval
- Two months of pay stubs, or other proof of income
- Tax returns from the past two years
- W-2s (or 1099s, if you are a contractor) from the past two years
- Two months’ worth of statements for every bank, investment, savings, or retirement account you have
- Proof of any other assets you own (e.g., other properties)
- Social Security number and photo ID for every borrower
- Two years’ worth of residential history, possibly including landlord contact info
Once you have your pre-approval letter in hand, it’s usually good for three to six months, and extendable beyond that. That should give you plenty of time to scope out houses with a trusty guide by your side: a great real estate agent, of course.
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