Are you looking to buy a house? Then chances are you need to get pre-approved for a mortgage. Realtors often don’t even want to show you houses unless they know you’ve talked to a lender who has made sure you qualify.

What’s the difference between being pre-approved vs. pre-qualified?

Pre-qualified means a lender has asked you some basic questions and perhaps even calculated your debt-to-income ratios. A mortgage pre-approval means you have given documents like W2s and bank statements to your lender. After analyzing these documents, your lender can issue a pre-approval letter.

Before you contact a lender, here are 5 things you should have ready:

5 Things You Need to Get Pre-Approved

  • income
  • assets
  • credit
  • carrying costs
  • other debt


If you want to get pre-approved, you need to have this information readily available: If you are salaried, you should have your recent paystubs handy and/or your most recent W2s for two years. If you are self-employed, you should have two years of your most recent tax returns available. Your lender will need this information to calculate your debt-to-income-ratio or DTI.


You should know how much money you have in liquid assets (checking, savings, money market accounts). If you plan on getting a gift, you should know approximately how much the gift will be for. If you plan on borrowing against your 401k or retirement account, you should know approximately how much you can borrow.


You should know your credit score. You can either allow a lender to pull your credit or you can use one of the many online services to get your score.

Carrying Costs

Carrying costs refer to the costs associated with the home you want to buy. This usually means property taxes, homeowner’s insurance, plus common charges (for a condo), flood insurance (if your home is in a flood zone), plus PMI (Private Mortgage Insurance) if you are putting down less than 20%. If you are buying a cooperative apartment, you will need to know the monthly maintenance.

Other Debt

You will need to know what your monthly payments are for “other debt” (debt other than the mortgage you plan on getting to buy your new home). Other debt includes payments on car loans; car leases; student loans; credit cards; boat loans; other real estate like a second home or investment property.

Once you have this information, you are ready to talk to a loan officer who can help you determine how much you can qualify for. Tell them you’re about to look at homes and you want to get pre-approved for a mortgage. In addition to asking about your income, assets, credit, carrying costs and other debt, they will probably also ask how much you plan on putting down and if you will occupy the property as your primary residence. If you’d like to talk to one of the experienced loan officers at Amerifund about getting pre-approved, call (888) 650-7316. Or you can fill out this form and someone will contact you. Once the conversation is over, Amerifund should be able to issue you a pre-approval letter. Now you can find your dream home!

(c) Copyright Eris Saari 2019