Pre-Qualification vs Pre-Approval...
Pre-Qualification is only a loan agent's opinion that you'll be able to obtain financing. No verifications are made, so formal approval is not issued.
Pre-Approval, on the other hand, means the loan application has been taken through a rigorous procedure. Pre-approval saves you time of looking at houses you can't afford.
Here's why pre-approved buyers are ahead in the home buying game:
If you make an offer on a home and then apply for a loan instead of the other way around, you are at the mercy of the lender, who now knows you don't have time to shop around. A pre-approval letter from a lender gives you an edge when multiple offers have been made on a house. Pre-approved buyers generally close escrow more quickly, since most of the paperwork has already been taken care of.
If you need any help with prequalifying for buying a home, feel free to contact me and I will assist you with the process.