Pre-qualification is a determination of the loan amount you’re likely to receive. It is not a guarantee of approval. To obtain pre-qualification, you usually are interviewed by a licensed loan officer who determines the pre-qualification amount. You will be issued a letter with this information that you can present when making an offer on a home. It’s important to understand that pre-qualification does not imply any obligation from the lender that you will be approved.

Pre-approval is more thorough than pre-qualification. To be pre-approved, you must submit an application and verify your credit and financial history. After you receive your pre-approval certificate, you’re in a stronger position to close earlier and negotiate a better price. It’s highly recommended that you seek pre-approval if you are shopping for a home.