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Everything you need to know about mortgage preapproval

If you're thinking of buying a home, you may have heard that getting preapproved for a mortgage is important. It is. Preapproval can move you in front of other potential homebuyers, getting you into a home you love faster and with less stress.

Unlike simple prequalification, the mortgage preapproval process may be confusing. After all, you will jump right into the mortgage application process, and there will be pressure to produce all kinds of documentation to your lender very quickly. You may be called upon to make decisions you haven't fully prepared for just yet, such as what kind of mortgage will work best for you. Throw ever-changing mortgage rates into the mix and it can get complicated in a hurry.

This five-part guide to mortgage preapproval will help to sort it all out. We'll take you through all aspects of the preapproval process, covering everything from explaining what preapproval is and what purpose it serves to the differences between prequalification and preapproval. We'll review the documentation you will need to present to your lender, discuss how long a preapproval can last and give you a look at what an actual preapproval letter looks like. In the end, we’ll get you on a faster, easier and less-stressful path to homeownership!