Homeowner Mortgage Tips

How Long Does A Mortgage Preapproval Last?

You’re ready to buy a home, but you’ve heard the clock ticking on your mortgage preapproval. Typically, these preapprovals are valid for 60 to 90 days. So, once you’re preapproved for a mortgage, you need to strike while the iron is hot. 

This blog will guide you through what a preapproval is, why it matters, and how long it lasts. Keep reading so you can house-hunt with confidence!

Key Takeaways

  • Mortgage preapprovals are usually valid for 60 to 90 days. After that period is up, you may need to reapply if you haven’t bought a home.
  • Obtaining a mortgage preapproval is essential as it enhances your credibility with sellers, clarifies your budget, and can give you a competitive edge in the housing market.
  • It’s important to apply for mortgage preapproval right before you’re ready to start house hunting seriously — ideally no more than three months before shopping for homes.
  • To get a mortgage preapproval, maintain a good credit score, gather necessary financial documents like proof of income and assets then find and apply with a lender.
  • Keep an eye on when your mortgage preapproval will expire and be prepared to update your financial information if you need to reapply.

What is a mortgage preapproval?

A mortgage preapproval is essentially a letter from a lender stating that they’ve looked closely at your financial background and believe you’re a good candidate for a loan up to a certain amount.

This isn’t just casual browsing; lenders check your credit score and review your income, debts, and savings to determine how much they’re willing to lend you. They’ll also give you an estimate of the interest rate you’ll be paying on your loan.

Having this preapproval does wonders as it puts you in a stronger position when making an offer on a house. It tells sellers that not only are you serious about buying but also capable of doing so because a reputable lender has vetted your finances.

Getting preapproved, however, doesn’t mean the money is yours right away. It’s contingent upon final approval when purchasing time comes around and subject to conditions such as property appraisal and no significant changes in your financial situation.

What are the benefits of a mortgage preapproval?

A mortgage preapproval sets the stage for a smooth homebuying experience. It shows sellers you’re serious and ready to make a deal. 

With that in mind, let’s take a look at some of the key benefits that come with mortgage preapproval:

  • You gain a clearer understanding of your budget. Knowing how much you can borrow helps you focus on homes within your price range.
  • Sellers often prefer buyers with preapproval. It signals that you have the financial backing to complete the purchase, which can tip the scales in your favor in competitive markets.
  • It speeds up the buying process. With a mortgage preapproval in hand, you can quickly move forward when you find the right home.
  • You discover potential credit issues early. A preapproval reveals any credit problems that might need fixing before you can buy a home.
  • You lock in an interest rate. Some lenders offer rate locks with preapproval, protecting you from rising rates during your search for a home.
  • Negotiating power is in your hands. Armed with a preapproval, you’re in a stronger position to negotiate price and terms with sellers.
  • It reduces stress by providing financial clarity. Understanding your loan amount upfront makes shopping for a home more focused and less overwhelming.

When should I get a mortgage preapproval?

Now that you understand the advantages a mortgage preapproval can offer, it’s crucial to time it right. Aim to secure your preapproval before you start house-hunting seriously. This strategy positions you as a serious buyer and gives you the upper hand in negotiations with sellers.

The best moment is just before shopping for homes — ideally no more than three months prior since this is typically how long a mortgage preapproval lasts. By doing so, real estate agents will see you’re ready to move quickly on a purchase and they’ll likely prioritize showing you properties that match your preapproved loan amount.

Consider getting your paperwork in order early on to avoid any rush once you find the right home. Take note of expiration dates; most lenders’ preapprovals are valid for 60–90 days.

Be clear about your budget limits and stick within them during this period—a critical step in making an offer with confidence when the perfect property appears on your radar.

How can I get a mortgage preapproval?

To get a mortgage preapproval, you’ll need to maintain a solid credit score, gather financial documentation, find a lender, and then apply for preapproval. It’s important to start this process early so you can be ready to make an offer when you find the perfect home.

Maintain a solid credit score

To secure a mortgage preapproval, it’s crucial to maintain a solid credit score. Lenders typically look for a credit score of at least 620, but the higher your score, the better your chances of securing favorable terms and interest rates.

If you have a lower score, you may still be able to qualify for an FHA loan.

To keep your credit in good standing, make sure to pay bills on time, minimize new credit applications, and aim to use no more than 30% of your available credit.

By consistently managing your finances responsibly and keeping tabs on your credit report for any errors or issues, you can increase the likelihood of obtaining a mortgage preapproval with competitive terms and conditions.

Gather financial documentation

To secure a mortgage preapproval, the next step is to gather essential financial documentation. This will help your lender assess your financial stability and determine the loan amount you qualify for. 

Here’s what you need:

  1. Proof of income: Provide recent pay stubs, W-2 forms, or tax returns to verify your earnings.
  2. Asset information: Gather bank statements and investment account statements to show your available funds for a down payment and closing costs.
  3. Employment verification: Have contact details for your current employer ready for the lender to confirm your employment status.
  4. Personal identification: Prepare a government-issued ID such as a driver’s license or passport to verify your identity.

Find a lender

Research local lenders or consider national lenders with a strong online presence. Compare interest rates, fees, and customer service ratings. Collect recommendations from friends, family, or real estate professionals.

Look for a lender who offers the loan programs you need and is known for quick preapproval turnaround times.

Contact potential lenders to learn about their mortgage preapproval processes and ask questions about their services. Share details about your financial situation to find out if they can meet your needs.

Apply for preapproval

After finding a lender, it’s time to apply for preapproval. This involves submitting your financial and personal information to the lender for evaluation. Here’s how you can do it:

  1. Complete the preapproval application provided by the lender.
  2. Provide documentation such as pay stubs, bank statements, and tax returns to support your financial information.
  3. Consent to a credit check, which allows the lender to assess your creditworthiness.

How long does a mortgage preapproval last?

A mortgage preapproval typically lasts for about 60 to 90 days, but this can vary depending on the lender and your specific financial situation. It’s important to remember that a preapproval is not a guarantee of a loan, so you’ll want to start house-hunting and complete the purchase process within the timeframe of your preapproval.

If your preapproval expires before you buy a home, you’ll need to go through the application process again.

Remember that obtaining multiple mortgage preapprovals in quick succession can negatively impact your credit score, so it’s best to time your applications strategically based on when you plan to start actively searching for a home.

Be sure to communicate with your lender if you think you may need more time than initially anticipated due to unforeseen circumstances during the house-hunting process.

Mortgage preapproval: FAQs

Here are some of the questions we hear the most about mortgage preapprovals.

Do I need a mortgage preapproval to buy a home?

A mortgage preapproval is a crucial step in the homebuying process — particularly for first-time homebuyers. It provides you with a clear understanding of how much you can afford to spend on a house, making it easier to narrow down your search and make more competitive offers.

Without a preapproval, sellers may not take your offer seriously, potentially causing you to miss out on your dream home. By obtaining a mortgage preapproval, you show sellers that you are financially capable of purchasing their property.

Ultimately, securing a mortgage preapproval gives you an advantage in the competitive housing market and sets realistic expectations for your home search.

Does a mortgage preapproval hurt my credit score?

Securing a mortgage preapproval does not negatively impact your credit score. When you apply for preapproval, the lender will perform a soft inquiry on your credit report, which doesn’t affect your score.

However, if you move forward and formally apply for a mortgage, this might result in a hard inquiry, which can lead to a slight dip in your credit score.

Moreover, getting preapproved allows you to shop around for the best loan terms without multiple lenders making separate hard inquiries. This means that as long as you do so within a certain timeframe — typically 14–45 days depending on the credit scoring model used — those inquiries are counted as one single inquiry when calculating its effect on your credit score.

What information do I need to provide to get a mortgage preapproval?

To get a mortgage preapproval, you need to provide the following information:

  1. Your full legal name and contact information
  2. Social Security number for a credit check
  3. Proof of income such as pay stubs or tax returns
  4. Documentation of assets including bank statements and investment accounts
  5. List of current debts and monthly expenses
  6. Employment history and proof of employment
  7. Proof of residency

What happens when my mortgage preapproval expires?

When your mortgage preapproval expires, you will need to reapply with updated financial information. Lenders typically require recent pay stubs, bank statements, and credit checks.

Additionally, your circumstances may have changed since your initial preapproval, so be prepared to provide any necessary updates. Keep in mind that a new credit check may temporarily impact your credit score.

After taking these steps and securing a new preapproval, you can confidently resume your home search knowing exactly how much you can afford. This process allows you to stay organized and focused as you navigate the journey toward purchasing a home.

Ready to secure a mortgage preapproval?

Ready to secure a mortgage preapproval? 

If so, it’s time to be proactive and start the process when you are ready to buy your dream home. With a valid preapproval, you can confidently make offers on houses within your budget.

When you’re ready to take the next step in your journey to homeownership, schedule a free consultation with an expert.

Mortgage preapproval: More FAQs

1. What is the typical duration of a mortgage preapproval?

A typical mortgage preapproval usually lasts for 60 to 90 days.

2. Can I renew my mortgage preapproval after it expires?

Yes, you can apply to renew your mortgage preapproval if it expires.

3. Does anything affect how long my preapproval will last?

Changes in your financial situation or credit score can affect how long your preapproval lasts.

4. If I find a house quickly, do I still need a valid preapproval?

You need a valid preapproval when you are ready to make an offer on a house.

5. Will interest rates change during my mortgage preapproval period?

Your initial interest rate may change if market rates fluctuate before you secure your loan with a rate lock.

Mortgage preapproval is a complicated process. Connect with an expert to simplify the experience.


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