Why Get Pre-Approved? What is the difference between Pre-Qualified and Pre-Approved?
1. Pre-qualification acts as a dry run of the loan application process. The mortgage lender will use details you provide about your credit, income, assets and debts to arrive at an estimate of how much mortgage you can afford. The whole process may take only minutes or a few hours at most, and is free.
2. A "pre-qual" is non-binding to the lender (because the information you provide has not been verified)
3. These days most sellers will NOT accept an offer without at least a pre-approval letter, so if you are serious about buying this is the first step towards getting you in your new home.
4. A pre-approval will help us focus in on an exact criteria that you are able to afford. No consumption of time by chasing properties that "might/ might not" be in your range.
Here is a great reference link for further detail.