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Buying a home? You’ll Want to Get a Mortgage Pre-Approval First

Business photo shows printed text Mortgage Pre-Approval

Before you go home shopping in SoCal, you should consider getting a mortgage pre-approval first. A mortgage pre-approval is an important step in the homebuying process as it confirms how much you can spend on a home. It is also important because it tells sellers you have the financial capacity to buy their home. In this article, we’ll break down the importance of a mortgage pre-approval and how to obtain one.


A mortgage pre-approval is a document from a lender or a bank stating that you qualify for a mortgage based on the financial documents you submitted. The document contains the following details: the type of loan, the loan amount, the loan terms, offering you a mortgage, outlining the details of payment such as the loan amount, interest rate, payment terms, type of mortgage, and type of property. All of the terms outlined in the pre-approval letter will remain valid for a period of 90 days. This means that the specific amount the bank is willing to lend you will remain valid for 90 days. Once it lapses, you will have to go through the pre-approval process again.

A preapproval is often confused with a pre-qualification, terms which are sometimes used interchangeably. A pre-qualification is done by the lender based on the information you provide and enable them to give a rough estimate of how much you can borrow and pay back. It normally does not require a hard credit check and is not a guarantee that your loan will be approved.


There are two reasons why you would want a mortgage pre-approval:

  1. It’s the best way to determine the maximum amount you can borrow
    While it’s possible to know how much you will need for the house using an online calculator or a pre-qualification, these methods only provide an estimate of your loan amount. A pre-approval is a more accurate way to determine how much you can borrow. Thus, a pre-approval allows you to shop for houses within a fixed price range.

  2. It shows the seller you’re a serious buyer
    A pre-approval letter gives you an edge over other buyers because it shows the seller that you’ve been vetted by a lender. Thus, you are a serious buyer. This is especially advantageous in competitive markets such as in Orange County where SoCal real estate agents can be selective about potential buyers for their clients.


To get a pre-approval, you will need:

  • A credit score of 620or higher to qualify for a conventional loan. Otherwise, lenders may be compelled to offer you higher interest rates, which will inflate your monthly payments. Check your credit score here, here, or here.

  • Documents attesting to your financial stability and ability to make mortgage payments. Each lender has their own requirements, but they typically ask for the following:
    • At least two most recent pay stubs
    • Tax returns from the past two years
    • Bank statements from the last 60 days
    • Employment verification documents
    • Employer contact information
    • List of your debts
    • Investment account statements, including 401(k) and IRA
    • Proof of rental payments or landlord contact information
    • Gift letters (if you’ve been gifted money for your down payment)


If you’re interested in buying luxury Orange County real estate, getting a mortgage pre-approval, and getting an edge above competitors, it’s best to work with an established Realtor.

Meet Robyn Robinson, an expert Realtor catering to communities in South Orange County. With over $1 billion in sales and experience spanning 30 years, Robyn has helped countless clients sell and purchase homes. She can help you find the ideal home tailored to your needs.

Contact Robyn Robinson today at 949.295.5676 or send her an email here for more information on luxury homes in South Orange County.

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