Why It’s Important to have a Mortgage Pre-approval Letter and How to Get One

If you are thinking about buying a new home shortly, you may already be searching online to get a feel for the different types of homes available in the local area. You may have reviewed your budget, and you may have a fair idea about a sales price that is comfortable for you to afford.

While you may feel as though you have taken the preliminary steps necessary to prepare yourself to buy a home, it is important that you also get a mortgage pre-approval letter for your financing before you start hunting for that perfect new house or condo.

The Importance of a Pre-Approval Letter

A mortgage pre-approval letter is issued to a loan applicant after he or she has passed through a preliminary credit review process. Most of these letters state that the individual is pre-qualified for a property with a maximum sales price, and it is contingent on the loan applicant providing supporting documentation, such as tax returns and bank statements.

This letter gives you a better idea about what it will take for you to get final loan approval and what loan amount you may qualify for. The letter is also provided to a seller, and it gives the seller the confidence that comes with knowing that you are a qualified buyer. When a seller has an offer from a buyer with a letter and another offer from one without a letter, there is a good chance that the seller will opt for a buyer who is already pre-qualified for financing.

How to Get Your Pre-Approval Letter

As you can see, there are several reasons why it is important to get pre-qualified for your mortgage financing. Getting a pre-approval is generally a straightforward process, but it can seem intimidating. You will need to complete a loan application, and this may be done in person or online with a lender or mortgage company. You will also need to sign an authorization for the lender to pull your credit report. After taking these steps, you typically will be able to receive a pre-approval letter within a day or two.

When you have plans to purchase a new home, you likely will need to apply for financing to complete your plans. Getting a pre-approval letter up-front can help you in many ways, and you can easily take the steps necessary to get pre-approved for your mortgage. Simply contact a mortgage company or lender today to get started with the process.

Loan-to-Value Ratio (LTV): The Key to Mortgage Approval

Securing a mortgage is a significant milestone on the path to homeownership. As you embark on this journey, you’ll likely encounter various terms and ratios that play a crucial role in the approval process. One such essential factor is the Loan-to-Value ratio, commonly known as LTV. Understanding LTV is paramount, as it not only influences your chances of mortgage approval but also affects interest rates and the required down payment. We will delve into the significance of LTV and its pivotal role in the mortgage application process.

What is Loan-to-Value Ratio (LTV)?

Loan-to-Value ratio is a financial metric that expresses the relationship between the loan amount and the appraised value of the property. Simply put, it’s the percentage of the property’s value that you borrow through a mortgage. LTV is calculated by dividing the loan amount by the appraised value and multiplying the result by 100. LTV = (Loan Amount / Appraised Value) * 100

The Significance of LTV in Mortgage Approval:

Risk Assessment:

Lenders use LTV as a risk assessment tool. A higher LTV indicates a higher risk for the lender, as borrowers with a smaller equity stake may be more susceptible to default.

A lower LTV, on the other hand, signifies a larger down payment and a higher level of ownership in the property, which is viewed favorably by lenders.

Impact on Interest Rates:

LTV has a direct impact on the interest rates offered by lenders. Higher LTV ratios often result in higher interest rates to compensate for the increased risk borne by the lender.

Conversely, a lower LTV may lead to more favorable interest rates, potentially saving borrowers a significant amount of money over the life of the loan.

Down Payments:

LTV is inversely related to the down payment required. The lower the LTV, the larger the down payment, and vice versa.

For example, an 80% LTV implies a 20% down payment, while a 95% LTV means a 5% down payment. Lenders generally have specific thresholds for maximum LTV ratios they are willing to accept.

Private Mortgage Insurance (PMI):

When the LTV exceeds a certain threshold, typically 80%, lenders may require borrowers to purchase Private Mortgage Insurance (PMI). PMI protects the lender in case of borrower default but adds an additional cost for the borrower.

Understanding the Loan-to-Value ratio is essential. It serves as a critical indicator of risk for lenders, influencing interest rates and down payment requirements. As you navigate the mortgage application process, paying attention to your LTV ratio and taking steps to improve it—such as making a larger down payment—can enhance your chances of securing a favorable loan. By decoding the complexities of LTV, you empower yourself to make informed decisions that pave the way to successful homeownership.

Speed Your Mortgage Approval up by Following This Checklist

Have you finally found your dream home after months of searching, and then you are told that the seller has received other offers? No buyer wants to find themselves in a bidding war against another buyer as it is a stressful situation. Being unprepared and not having your finances in order will make it even more stressful. Here are a few quick ways if you’re looking to speed up your mortgage approval process, here’s a checklist to help you prepare:

·        Review your credit report: Maintain a good credit score by paying bills on time, reducing existing debt, and avoiding new credit inquiries. Check your credit report for errors and make sure your credit score is in good shape. A good credit score can positively impact the approval and interest rate you receive.

·        Gather financial documents: Gather all necessary paperwork beforehand, including pay stubs, tax returns, bank statements, and any other financial documentation. Having these readily available will expedite the application process.

·        Save for a down payment: A larger down payment can reduce the risk for lenders, making them more inclined to approve your loan faster. It can also decrease the time needed for certain approval processes.

·        Stay at your job: It’s best to avoid changing jobs during the mortgage approval process.

·        Avoid new credit: Don’t apply for new credit or take on new debt during the approval process.

·        Don’t make big purchases: Avoid making large purchases, such as a car, during the approval process.

·        Respond promptly to requests: Once you’ve applied for a mortgage, respond promptly to any requests from your lender. Delays often occur when there’s a lack of communication or slow responses to queries or requests for additional information.

·        Work with a reputable lender: Choose a lender with a good reputation and experience in the mortgage industry.

·        Get pre-approved: Consider getting pre-approved for a mortgage before house hunting to speed up the approval process.

Stay informed about the process and ask questions if you’re unsure about any step. Following this checklist can help speed up your mortgage approval process and make the process smoother and less stressful.  Good communication with your lender is key to ensuring a smooth and expedited process.