After many requests, I’ve decided to make a blog series on the real estate process, first from the buying side, then from the selling side. Today I’m discussing the first step in the buying process: pre-approval.

In a previous blog, I talked about the importance of a buyer consultation where your agent will run you through an overview of what a real estate transaction looks like. After the buyer consultation, if you haven’t already, you want to speak with a lender to get pre-approved or pre-qualified. Or if you’re lucky enough to be a cash buyer, you’ll need proof of funds from them.

“It’s easy to get pre-qualified, but it’s not as strong as a pre-approval.”

Pre-qualification is a very simple process—sometimes you can even do it online. They just want proof that you’re a real person, your full name, address, and income. It’s easy to get pre-qualified, but it’s not as strong as a pre-approval. For a pre-approval, a lender will ask for two years of tax returns, copies of your pay stubs, bank statements, and a photo ID. They may request other miscellaneous things, as well.

Talk to your real estate agent to find out what lenders they recommend. I speak from experience when I say that some of the big box and internet lenders can be difficult to work with, so a recommendation is best.

Stay tuned for part two of my buying process series. If you have any questions about buying or real estate in general, I’m here to answer them.