You've done your homework, contacted a mortgage company and believe you are pre-approved. That part of the process is finished and you can concentrate of finding a home and moving...or can you?
Pre-qualified and pre-approved are two different things but some people, including some in the business, use the terms interchangeably. Pre-qualified is an opinion of likelihood that a borrower will be approved based on preliminary information about their income and credit. Whereas, in a pre-approval, the borrower's credit report is updated and pulled, income and assets verified and involves pre-underwriting.
Even when you have a highly qualified loan officer, the real decision maker is the underwriter who can commit the lender. Generally speaking, a person who has been pre-approved receives a written letter stating the terms and conditions of the commitment.
A second opinion from a different lender can be a comforting thing for a borrower. It will either confirm that the first lender was correct and that the rate and terms being offered are competitive or it will reveal that there could be differences that would warrant more investigation.
Mortgage money is a commodity and while competition usually keeps lenders close to each other in the rates and terms they offer, you won't know for sure unless you shop around. The cost for being pre-approved is usually a nominal amount and when you are considering the size of the mortgage you'll be borrowing for up to thirty years, it makes sense to get a second opinion.
Occasionally, during the process of being pre-approved, an unexpected credit problem may be discovered. It is better to learn about it early so you'll have time to correct it before you have contracted on a home.
Your real estate professional, Coni Otto, will be able to recommend lenders who are active, experienced in the area and can share their experience with you regarding previous loans they have made. The benefits far exceed the time and effort it takes. You'll be looking at the right priced homes; getting the best loan, rate and terms; have increased negotiating power with the Seller and can close quicker because many of the verifications have already been made.