From time to time we use this space to clear up industry
terminology. Recently I was asked about the difference between a pre-approval letter and loan commitment. Both are similar, yet there are subtle differences between these two mortgage terms and they should not be used interchangeably.

Let’s start with pre-approval letters. These are nearly mandatory in today’s real estate market and have been in existence for more than two decades.

A pre-approval letter is submitted by the buyer along with their purchase agreement. Its primary purpose is to assure the seller that the potential buyer has met the basic criteria to be granted the mortgage. The buyer’s income, credit score, debt levels and down payment source are verified at this time.

On the other hand, a loan commitment letter is created when the buyer’s information has been fully reviewed and he or she has been given the clearance to close on the sale. Occasionally, a loan commitment letter is issued along with additional conditions which must be met before they are cleared to close.

The loan commitment letter protects both the seller and the buyer from financing issues that may crop up prior to the closing. So what issues can occur from the time of the pre-approval letter? The biggest concerns are loss of income and credit problems that may lower your score.

Ready to buy a new home or refinance the one you own? Please get in touch and I’ll be happy to answer your questions and help guide you through the process. I look forward to speaking with you.