Pre-approval Process

Maybe you've started looking at listings of homes in NYC. Before you click on another brownstone, get thee pre-approved for a mortgage.


Preapproval for a mortgage is just what it sounds like—a letter from the lender letting you know how much you qualify to borrow based on their guidelines. The lender will look into your credit history and income. A preapproval is good for 60 to 90 days and is something that you can easily have tucked into a folder with all of your other home-buying info so that you’re always prepared in case you fall in love with ‘the one.’

Note: Pre-approval and prequalifying are two different things. Make sure you’re applying for pre-approval. Also, pre-approval through a certain lender does not obligate you to borrow through that lender.

The Pre-Approval Edge: Why It's The First Step

Real estate in NYC is a competitive sport—it moves quickly and decisively. Being as prepared as possible before jumping into the fray will serve you well.

One of the biggest things you can do to prove that you’re serious about buying is getting preapproved for a mortgage. This step will:

  • Set your budget. You will have a framework of affordability to work within and will focus your search.
  • Communicate to your agent, sellers and sellers’ agents that You. Mean. Business.

Save yourself the heartache of finding a home and missing out on it because you aren’t preapproved for the loan amount you need. By getting preapproved first, you will absolutely know what you are able to borrow and afford.Your broker will ask you for a preapproval letter within the first couple days of your home search together. So getting a preapproval letter will also help your broker or agent focus their hustle for you.

Ok... But How Do I Get Pre-Approved?

Step One: Research

  • Ask your real estate broker for some recommendations.
  • Check out some mortgage calculators online. If you type ‘mortgage calculator’ into Google, it will put a simple one right at the top of the search results. You can also use a website like https://www.mortgagecalculator.orgor https://usmortgagecalculator.orgto play around with some numbers—income, interest rates, etc. The second website also lets you input auxiliary information like maintenance fees and taxes to help you see big picture numbers too.
  • Look into current mortgage rates and lenders. Lenders are pretty upfront about minimum credit scores and minimum down payments required.

Step Two: Go to your favorite bank or lender to apply OR apply online.

  • The internet has changed the game. You can apply and get your preapproval in minutes. The future is now.
  • Have some basic financial documents at the ready: paystubs, W2’s, a federal tax return, and bank statements.

Step Three: Search for your home armed with a preapproval letter and proceed with confidence and peace of mind.