Sometimes the pre-approval process can be a bit intimidating. If you do your homework ahead of time, it makes things easier. Here are my five best tips for getting a pre-approval:

1. Ballpark what you can afford. Your loan officer will do a detailed analysis of your affordability, but you can ballpark it by taking your annual income and multiplying it by 2.5 or 3. If your household income is $100,000, your affordability would be around $250,000 to $300,000. This is important to know because it lets you know how much you need to have saved up for a down payment. The FHA minimum down payment on a $250,000 home is 3.5%, or $8,750.

2. Check your credit. Annualcreditreport.com is the best site to do this at. You’re looking for at least a 620 credit score to qualify for an FHA loan. If your score isn’t quite high enough, there are some things you can do to get it there. You can pay off or pay down your credit card debt. Once you do that, call your creditors and see if you can get them to raise the limits of your cards. Higher limits improve your score pretty much right away.

“Higher credit card limits will improve your score right away.”

3. Get ready for document collection. Your loan officer is going to want to see a lot of things, including your two most recent pay stubs and two months’ worth of asset statements.

4. Provide the loan officer with two years of filed tax returns.

5. Don’t sabotage yourself. I’ve seen people get their pre-approvals, then immediately go and buy a car on credit or get a new job in a new field. If you do these things, you’ll destroy your pre-approval and have to wait months to be in the position to get another one.

If you follow these tips, you’ll be well on your way to securing a mortgage. If you have any additional questions for me in the meantime, don’t hesitate to reach out and give me a call or send me an email. I look forward to hearing from you soon.