Mortgage application form with stamp saying "approved" and keys

Get Pre-Approved

Published On: October 25th, 2023

Obtaining Mortgage Pre-Approval and Finding a Legitimate Lender in Silicon Valley

It used to be that buyers could go house shopping and when they found their dream home, they would then go to a lender to get the financing nailed down. In today’s market, that has proven to be one of the least effective methods in landing the dream home or investment property.

Though you may be willing to spend a certain amount, the real determination of how much house or property you can afford is driven by how much a lender calculates you can afford. So, before you begin to search for the perfect house, it is very important to begin the buying process by getting pre-approved for a loan.

The process will provide you with an exact amount of loan for which you can qualify. Knowing this, you can then focus your property or home search.

Mortgage application form with stamp saying "approved" and keys

How Lenders Determine How Much to Lend

In general, lenders allow your total monthly housing costs to go as high as, but not more than, 30 percent of your gross monthly income. The second requirement is that no more than 36 percent of your gross monthly income can be tied up in the total monthly house payment and payments on long-term debt.

Lenders use slightly different formulas for determining the “total monthly house payment.” These costs generally include the mortgage principal and interest payment, property taxes as a monthly sum, and hazard insurance as a monthly sum. These four items are referred to as PITI (principal, interest, taxes and insurance).

Other costs may be included in this calculation if your down payment is less than 20 percent or if you are responsible for homeowner’s association dues. The calculations may vary from lender to lender, but will provide you with a gauge.

How to get Pre-Approved for a Mortgage

Most lenders can pre-qualify you for a mortgage over the phone. Based on general questions about your income, debt, assets and credit history, lenders can estimate how much mortgage you qualify for.

However, being pre-qualified and pre-approved are different things.

Pre-approval means that you have applied for a mortgage; you have filled out the mortgage application, received your credit report, and verified your employment, assets, etc. When you are pre-approved, you know exactly what the maximum loan amount will be.

A pre-qualification letter is not verified and, does not count for much if you are competing with other buyers who are pre-approved.

When you are pre-approved for a loan, you and the seller know exactly how much house you can afford. It gives you credibility as an interested buyer and lets the seller know immediately that you will qualify for a loan to buy their property. It makes your offer much more powerful and in today’s market is a necessity.

Finding a Lender

In addition to being pre-approved, it’s important to be pre-approved with a legitimate lender. Legitimate lenders include:

  • Banks
  • Mortgage bankers
  • Credit unions
  • Savings and Loan associations
  • Mortgage brokers
  • Online lenders

If you need help finding a lender, I can help you. I know of and have worked with several great lenders in Silicon Valley.

So, let’s get started today, begin your “Pre-Approval” process before we start shopping so you are ready when you find that perfect property.

Some lenders to avoid: those who lose a form or misplace a file, those who gather information from you in an unorganized manner, those who are not informed about interest rates, points or costs, and those who cannot provide you with the right information.