If you’re hoping to buy a home, it’s smart to ponder the question, “How long does a pre-approval last?” Even after you’ve received a lender’s stamp of approval for your financing, weeks or even months could pass before you actually buy a house. Will that pre-approval you receive still be valid by then?
Since lenders realize that buying a house does take time, pre-approval dates have a shelf life, but not a definite one. While the length of time varies, in general, a pre-approval is good for about three months. Here’s what homebuyers need to know to make the most out of this time frame, and what to do if your pre-approval is at risk of running out before you buy a home.
The first step to buying a home should be to prove that you have the financial means to do so through a pre-approval. This is a process through which a mortgage professional examines a loan application to determine whether a potential buyer will qualify for a mortgage.
To obtain a pre-approval, buyers need to provide a mortgage lender with information like their employment history, credit score, income, and debts. During this process, the lender will want to see bank statements, pay stubs, and tax returns. It can feel invasive, but lenders are looking to protect their interests by not loaning money to someone who could be considered “high-risk.”
These are people who have high, outstanding debts, inconsistent income, or a history of late payments. Once a lender reviews your finances, they will give you a pre-approval letter, detailing a good-faith willingness to extend mortgage financing based on its preliminary examinations of your assets, income stream, and creditworthiness. This letter will also detail the actual loan amount that you qualify for.
How long does a pre-approval last? Although there is no definite duration, the custom within our industry is that a pre-approval is good from anywhere for 90 to 180 days, but many may consider it “too old” after three months. The reason? In three months, your financial life can change drastically. You can buy appliances, a car, or do plenty of other things to affect your home buying prospects. Since pre-approvals do have a shelf life, it’s best to not get one until you’re seriously looking for a home.
I hope this information has been useful to you. If you have any other real estate questions or needs, don’t hesitate to reach out and give us a call or send us an email today. We look forward to hearing from you.