Mortgage pre-qualification differs from a pre-approval in that pre-qualification assesses whether your debt-to-income ratio fits a lending institution' guidelines for home loans. It also provides an estimate of how much you may be able to borrow - a good first step in your house-hunting journey.
While this number is informative, keep in mind how much you may qualify to borrow is often more than how much you can afford to spend on your new home and still have money left over for the other important things in your life; like furniture for your new home.
Getting pre-qualified doesn’t require a commitment from you or the bank. It isn't a true application and your credit history doesn't factor into your pre-qualification. Even so, you should be aware that when you apply for a mortgage, your credit score will affect your ability to qualify. If you have concerns about your credit history, talk to your mortgage loan officer now to find out what loan options might be available to you.
When you get pre-qualified, you can request a letter stating how much you may be able to borrow, based on the information you provided to the lender. You can give this letter to your real estate agent to show you’re a serious homebuyer.