After countless hours spent working with a realtor and/or scrolling through homes online, you’ve found a few intriguing listings. You’d like to take the next step. But how do you put your best foot forward—while smoothly navigating the process of purchasing a home?
Whether you’re an experienced buyer or in the market for your first home, getting a prequalification letter is crucial. Here are some ways you can lean on your lender at this early stage—along with a few reasons why the lender you choose can make all the difference throughout your homebuying process.
In basic terms, a prequalification letter is a letter from your potential lender that specifies how much money they are provisionally willing to lend you. Not to be confused with commitment letters (for which lenders have undergone a full evaluation), a prequalification letter is based on high-level financial information, and does not guarantee a mortgage itself.
In short, obtaining a “prequal” letter does two things at once: 1) it helps you figure out how much borrowing power you have, and 2) it shows sellers’ realtors—and their clients—that you’re able to afford their listings, so that they can be assured that working with you makes sense. In other words, a prequal letter demonstrates a buyer’s credibility, often serving as a first ticket to entry.
Applying for a prequal letter is also a great way to establish a strong relationship with your chosen lending partner—a critical part of the homebuying process. If you want the best deal, you need a partner who doesn't just see the job as transactional. They're not just there to check the boxes—they want to get you across the finish line. A lender that is there for you in the earliest stages of the journey—even before you’ve committed to working with them long term—is a tell-tale sign that they’re a good fit for you.
That’s why First American Bank takes a personalized approach to the prequalification process. New homeowners get the same level of in-person, over-the-phone or online service no matter where they are on their homebuying journey, thanks to our customized service.
Chosen carefully, a service-minded lender can actually help you anticipate next steps in the buying process, arming you with the knowledge, support, and confidence you need to close your dream property—at a price that makes sense for you.
But what does the right lending partner look like?
The first thing you might look for when searching for a lending partner is a customer-first mentality. Prequal letters are far from “one size fits all.” At First American Bank, we know that every homebuyer, and every homebuyer’s journey, is different. Determining the right terms and assessing a buyer’s borrowing potential requires careful consideration and benefits from a personal touch.
Additionally, if you’re a first-time buyer, you probably have a lot of questions. Many lenders issue prequal letters without spending time to talk through next steps. Finding a lender willing to sit down and explain the ins and outs of financing your home can put you at ease—and help you approach the buying process with confidence.
What is the best way for you to communicate with your bank or credit union? And how easy is it to get in touch with your loan officer? Answering these questions will help you decide which lender will help you meet your needs. Today, many homebuyers appreciate the convenience of lenders with digital or mobile capabilities, which can streamline the application process. But having an additional option to meet face-to-face with your lender to discuss the details of your homebuying journey can be important, too. Find a digitally enabled lender who communicates efficiently and effectively throughout the process—and lets you take the lead.
The mortgage application and approval process is complicated. Even if you’re a seasoned homebuyer, the journey might look completely different the second or even third time around.
For instance, married and self-employed second-time homebuyers will have different mortgage needs than someone who is single and buying a home for the first time. The right lending partner will assess your unique financial situation and find you a mortgage product that helps you anticipate—and entirely sidestep—any roadblocks on the path to homeownership.
At First American Bank, as an example, even those who are just starting the process have access to senior loan officers who bring a high level of experience and expertise to the homebuyer’s journey—and will help you navigate the road ahead.
To get a prequal letter, you’ll likely need to provide some basic information. This, at minimum, will include your desired mortgage amount or purchase price, your income, permission to pull your credit score, and more.
For something as personal as buying a home, you’ll want a personalized lending experience. First American Bank is a trusted prequalification partner for homebuyers who want to simplify the buying process, boost their negotiation power, and close on the property of their dreams.
Every borrower that we work with is encouraged to candidly assess their experience on Google. See our lenders’ reviews on their websites and, at the end, add yours. We welcome your feedback.
It’s easy. Start a new prequalification application online or contact a mortgage professional today.
Until the end of October 2021, First American Bank is offering $500 off closing costs for new homebuyers who sign up for automatic loan payments and eStatements.*