This article has been updated on March 10, 2019


Pre-qualification or Pre-quals, is a quick assessment about what you can afford. It is based on the opinion of a loan officer, 1-800 order clerk, website calculator, or Realtor. It includes an interview or form where you are asked about your debts, income, job, down payment, and so on. The idea is to get a general idea of your financial financial picture.

Pre-quals are usually done online or over-the-phone. However, there is no paperwork and you are under no obligation to use the lenders service. 


A pre-approval, on the other hand will provide you with the exact loan amount for which you qualify.

To be pre-approved for a loan you will need:

  • • A credit report within the last 30 days.
  • 1 month of pay stubs.
  • W2’s and tax returns for 2 years.
  • 2 months of bank statements with all pages for checking, savings, 401k’s, IRA’s, any liquid assets especially those funds used for the down payment.
  • A picture ID.
  • For government loans you will need a copy of your social security card.
  • DD214 (honorable discharge) if applying for a VA loan.

These documents are given to the decision maker/lender who will review them.Your approval is based on the data they collect.

However, if you are missing any critical documents, then you are not pre-approved, as the missing documents can change the outcome of the analysis.

What if you’re self-employed?

Many banks won’t lend to self-employed, free-lancers, or business owners because of the lack of pay stubs. However, there is a loan program that is perfect for self-employed persons. Click here to read more

If you would like help with pre-qualification or with pre-approval then contact me today.