Should You Get Pre-qualified or Pre-approved for Santa Cruz Homes for Sale?

Posted by Lauren Spencer on Sunday, January 31st, 2010 at 4:13pm.

When you first start talking about buying Santa Cruz homes for sale, you’ll hear “Oh, you should get pre-qualified first,” or “you should get pre-approved first.” So who’s right? What’s the difference between the two?  Is there any difference at all?

Pre-qualified Loans

Before shopping for Santa Cruz homes for sale, you want to look at lenders. Not all mortgage lenders are created equal. Especially now, with the rocky economic times, you have to be especially careful who you get your mortgage through.  When you find a lender you’re comfortable with, you have two choices: start shopping for houses or get pre-qualified for a loan.

Pre-qualification for a loan is based on the best estimate of the loan officer, not “set-in-stone,” verified facts. The officer believes, because of the information you tell them, that you have good credit and can financially afford a specific loan amount. For this reason, because it isn’t verified, pre-qualification doesn’t hold as much weight with buyers. As well, you could still end up wasting a lot of time looking at houses you can’t afford.

Pre-approved Loans

The second step in getting a mortgage loan is pre-approval. With pre-approval, the lender has received verification that, yes, you are credit worthy and yes, you can afford up to a specific loan amount.

Pre-approval not only gives the seller the idea that you’re a good prospect, but it also helps you out while looking for a home:

• You already know how much home you can afford.

• You already know that you’re qualified to buy any home you look at that falls within your verified loan amount.

• You have better negotiating power with the seller (who may be more willing to accept less than list price knowing that you are already pre-approved).

• The closing period can happen faster, narrowing the typical 30-day period to less than three weeks.

In short, when looking at Santa Cruz homes for sale, it’s better to be pre-approved, but you can’t get pre-approved for a mortgage without being pre-qualified.  So do yourself (and your new home) a favor and do both.

Need help selecting a mortgage lender?  I can help. Call me at 831.662.6522 or email me at for more information.



Not all mortgage lenders are created equal

How much home you can afford

Get pre-approved for a mortgage

About Lauren Spencer

Award-Winning Santa Cruz REALTOR®

Lauren Spencer is your local real estate expert, specializing in Santa Cruz real estate and surrounding communities—this is where she lives, works, and plays too. Let her know your questions about the community and county and she'll be happy to fill you in on all you want to know! Lauren Spencer has consistently been voted best local REALTOR in Santa Cruz and is always happy to offer her advice and expertise. Call her at: 800.226.4717.

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