What to hang and not hang on your refrigerator

By now you all know my love of shopping.

But there’s more.

My shopping love extends beyond clothes and furniture and pizza, and encompasses house shopping as well.  I know, sort of a pricey hobby.  Don’t worry.  Though I adore walking down hallways, opening kitchen drawers, sliding my fingertips across new counter tops, and measuring empty closets with hardwood floors – sigh! – I have purchased only two houses in my life.   And while my current home is perfect for me and I’d be silly to leave it, this weather simply beckons me to at least take a peek at those precious homes for sale in the Heights.

In case you have the home shopping bug as I do, I have gathered a tidbit of information for you.  A few of my girlfriends have asked me the difference between getting pre-qualified for a loan and getting pre-approved for a loan.  Of course I didn’t know the answer, but the Bosses did, and here’s what I found out.

Pre-qualification happens when you tell my bosses some basic bits about yourself, like how much money you make and what you think your credit score is, and they give you a letter that basically says, “So-and-so can buy a house for this much money assuming So-and-so is not lying through her pretty teeth.” What can you do with this letter?  Well, not a ton.  You can show it to your friends, hang it on your refrigerator, or frame it above that charming flea market chair in your living room.  It essentially lets you know where you stand.  The Bosses do this for free.

Now, assuming you are ready to start house-hunting, you then call or e-mail my bosses requesting a pre-approval.  That means that instead of just taking your word on your financial standing, they would actually pull your credit – and look! – it’s a 740 and you’re a rock star!  Plus you would fill out loan application.  Then you get a letter that says, in a nutshell, “So-and-so’s credit rocks, and assuming the home she’d like to buy isn’t a dump with a new coat of paint, and assuming she’s going to provide the paper-trail to back up her income and assets, she is pre-approved for a home loan up to such-and-such amount.”  Again, free.

Now with this letter, don’t go hanging it on your fridge.  Take it to your realtor, who will whistle and say “Woo hoo!”  Then, have fun house hunting, and call us when you find the right one.  My Bosses will be happily waiting to give you further advice or instructions, while I will be waiting to take you out for celebratory pizza.

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