Pre-qualification versus Pre-approval. What’s the difference and why does it matter?

December 19, 2016

Before you start searching for a new home in Wisconsin, you should have a good idea what you can afford and have a number in your head that you feel comfortable paying each month, regardless of what the bank says.

You may have heard of pre-approval or pre-qualification. But what’s the difference?

Pre-qualification is used at the early staging of a home search and gives a basic idea of how much you can afford. Sit down with a mortgage lender and provide the financial information required to get “pre-qualified”.

Pre-approval is much more advanced and detailed. A mortgage loan officer goes through an entire evaluation process in which paperwork you have submitted, such as paystubs and tax returns, are verified.  In the end, you will be given a letter stating a specific amount you have been “pre-approved” to borrow.


Why get pre-approved?

You’ll add weight to your offer to purchase.  In a busy market such as the one we are in now, it is essential to be ready to go with multiple offer situations being common. You will likely be competing for a house.

Shows you are a serious buyer

Loan may be processed faster


Pre-approval is not the final step in obtaining a mortgage but it gives both you and the home seller a good picture of the financial potential to purchase.   Thank you for reading the First Weber Wisconsin real estate & Wisconsin living blog to learn about the difference between pre-qualification and pre-approval.  If you’re ready to jump in and search for a home in Wisconsin, please search

First Weber sells real estate throughout Wisconsin: Metro Milwaukee and Southeastern WI, South Central Wisconsin/Greater Madison, Southwest Wisconsin, Western WI, Central Wisconsin, Northeast Wisconsin and Wisconsin’s great Northwoods. You can start searching for Wisconsin real estate and Wisconsin real estate agents at


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