How Long Does Mortgage Pre-Approval Last?

Liz Kroft  |  October 22, 2023

How Long Does Mortgage Pre-Approval Last?

A mortgage pre-approval letter is your key to securing a dream home. But how long does this golden ticket last? In this guide, we'll dive into the world of mortgage pre-approval, providing insights to help you navigate the homebuying process.

Understanding Mortgage Pre-Approval

So, what is mortgage pre-approval? It's the process by which a lender assesses how much they're willing to lend you for your home purchase. The outcome is presented in a pre-approval letter, a document that acts as a well-researched evaluation of your creditworthiness. It's not an absolute guarantee, but rather a reliable estimate of your borrowing capacity.

Pre-Approval vs. Prequalification

Before we continue, let's clarify the difference between "pre-approval" and "pre-qualification." Pre-qualification offers a rough idea of your budget. Pre-approval dives deeper into your financial and credit history to provide a more accurate borrowing estimate.

The Mortgage Pre-Approval Process

The pre-approval journey typically includes these steps:

  1. Mortgage Application: The process begins with a mortgage application.
  2. Documentation: You'll need to provide documents such as pay stubs, bank statements, tax returns, and W-2s.
  3. Processing Time: The process takes up to three business days, although some lenders may expedite it.

Why Is Pre-Approval Beneficial?

Is pre-approval necessary for buying a home? Technically, no, but it can be a game-changer.

  • Budget Clarity: It offers a clear picture of your purchasing power.
  • Credibility: Real estate agents and sellers may take your offer more seriously when they know you're lender-backed.

Factors Evaluated During Pre-Approval

The pre-approval process delves into your financial situation, including:

  • Income
  • Credit history
  • Debt-to-income ratio

This evaluation shapes crucial aspects like your loan amount, mortgage term, and interest rate.

How Long Does Pre-Approval Last?

Typically, mortgage pre-approval lasts up to 90 days. Many lenders specify the expiration date on the pre-approval letter, ranging from 30 to 90 days. It's vital to apply for pre-approval when you're ready to commit, as changes in your finances can impact the validity of your pre-approved loan.

The Importance of Validity Period

If your pre-approval nears its expiration date without securing a home, you can request an extension. Keep in mind that the pre-approval process involves a hard credit inquiry, which can temporarily lower your credit score. To minimize this impact, apply for pre-approval from multiple lenders within a 15 to 30-day window, as many credit bureaus treat them as a single inquiry.

Factors Influencing Duration

Several factors affect how long pre-approval lasts:

  • Changes in Financial Circumstances: Significant changes can alter your approved loan amount.
  • Interest Rate Fluctuations: Unexpected rate increases may impact your borrowing capacity.
  • Lending Regulations: Regulatory changes might affect the types of loans you qualify for.

Renewing Pre-Approval

If your home search extends beyond the pre-approval period, you can apply for an extension or renewal. Reasons might include ongoing house hunting, financial reviews, or unexpected delays.

The Renewal Process

Renewing your pre-approval involves submitting updated financial documentation and undergoing another hard credit inquiry. The process is quick and minimally impacts your credit score.

Working with Your Lender

When ready to commit to buying a home, seek out a lender that aligns with your needs and budget. At Sol Property Advisors, we specialize in connecting homebuyers with the right lenders and loan programs. We're here to help turn your homeownership dreams into reality. Get in touch with us today!


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