Home Buyer's Guide
How to Get Approved
A Mortgage Approval Shows What You Can Afford
It can be tempting to start searching for a new home by browsing listings and scoping out potential neighborhoods. But before you fall in love with a house, you should get approved first. A mortgage approval will help you estimate your monthly payment and understand what you can afford.
Why Getting Approved Is Important
Getting approved first has a few advantages:
- You and your real estate agent will understand what you can afford so you don't waste time looking at homes outside your budget.
- You'll be in the best position to make a strong offer on a house because the seller will know a lender already verified your finances.
- After your offer is accepted, you're less likely to run into surprises that could slow down closing the loan.
Keep in mind an approval is just the start of getting a mortgage. Once you find a house and make an offer, the house will need to pass inspections and be appraised by a third-party. Your approval amount could also change if your financial situation changes.
What Lenders Review
Mortgage lenders typically look at three criteria when deciding on how much you can borrow: your assets, your income and your credit.
Assets are items you own that could be turned into cash should the need arise. They include things like checking and savings accounts, stocks, real estate, personal property and more. Lenders review your assets to make sure you have some money set aside to make your mortgage payments after closing.
Lenders review your income to ensure you can afford a monthly mortgage payment. They'll also check your debt-to-income (DTI) ratio to make sure that the amount of debt you have doesn't offset your income too much. Typically, a mortgage company will want to see you have a DTI below 50%.
Having good credit can help you qualify for a better interest rate because you've shown you're a responsible borrower. Some mortgage lenders have minimum FICO® score requirements.
Steps to Getting an Approval
Every mortgage lender has its own process for getting approved. At Quicken Loans we use the Power Buying Process™, which has three levels of approval.
The easiest way to get a Prequalified Approval is online through Rocket Mortgage. After you create an account, you'll:
- Answer a few questions about your income and assets.
- Give us permission to pull your credit report.
If you're approved, you can download or print a Prequalified Approval Letter to share with your real estate agent to start house hunting.
With a Verified Approval§, you can strengthen your bargaining position before you make an offer. Verifying your finances will help you make a stronger offer because it shows the seller you are able to buy the home. A Home Loan Expert will verify your income and assets within 24 hours, and you'll get a Verified Approval Letter listing the amount you're approved to borrow.
For the strongest approval plus protection against rising interest rates, ask a Home Loan Expert how to get RateShield™ Approval||. They'll explain what you need to do, in addition to verifying your financial info, to lock your rate for 90 days while you're shopping for a home. If rates go up, your rate stays the same. If rates go down, your rate drops. Either way, you win! Learn more about RateShield Approval.
How to Choose Your Mortgage Company
To get the mortgage that's right for you, make sure you ask:
- What are your rates and fees?
- How much time on average do you take to close a purchase home loan?
- What is your client satisfaction rating?
- Will you service my loan after we close, or will you sell my loan to another company?
- What's your availability in case I have questions or need to get in touch?
- Can we do this online or will I need a fax machine and stamps?
Apply Online with Rocket Mortgage
Get approved with Rocket Mortgage® by Quicken Loans – and do it all online. You can get a real, customizable mortgage solution based on your unique financial situation.Apply Online
§Participation in the Verified Approval program is based on an underwriter’s comprehensive analysis of your credit, income, employment status, debt, property, insurance, appraisal and a satisfactory title report/search. If new information materially changes the underwriting decision resulting in a denial of your credit request, if the loan fails to close for a reason outside of Quicken Loans’ control, or if you no longer want to proceed with the loan, your participation in the program will be discontinued. If your eligibility in the program does not change and your mortgage loan does not close, you will receive $1,000. This offer does not apply to new purchase loans submitted to Quicken Loans through a mortgage broker. Additional conditions or exclusions may apply. Verified Approval within 24 hours of receipt of all requested documentation.
||RateShield Approval locks your initial interest rate for up to 90 days on 30-year conventional, FHA and VA fixed-rate purchase loan products. Your exact interest rate will depend on the date you lock your rate. Once you submit your signed purchase agreement, we’ll compare your rate to our published rates for that date and re-lock your interest rate at the lower of the two rates for an additional 40 to 60 days. Quicken Loans reserves the right to cancel this offer at any time. Acceptance of this offer constitutes the acceptance of these terms and conditions, which are subject to change at the sole discretion of Quicken Loans. This is not a commitment to lend. Additional conditions or exclusions may apply.