When thinking about buying a home, one of the smartest things you can do is to take the time to get your finances in order — even before you start looking at real estate.
Along with important steps like saving up for a down payment and strengthening your credit score, part of that process involves getting a mortgage pre-approval from a lender. In fact, applying for a pre-approval is considered by many to be among the first big milestones toward purchasing a home of your own.
As someone who recently purchased her first house, I can tell you that getting a pre-approval gave me the sense of direction that I needed when I was first starting my home search. However, beyond that, it also helped to give me a bit of an edge when it was time to actually submit purchase offers.
With that in mind, here is a closer look at what a pre-approval is, why you should seriously consider applying for one before putting in any offers, and how to get one of your own.