Searching for a Home? Here’s a Change I Learned About While Getting Pre-Qualified

Playful parents holding daughter's hands in new house

I recently contacted a loan officer about a mortgage for an investment property and was startled to find out things have changed since I last bought a house.  I went to him to get pre-approved for a mortgage only to find out most banks don’t really do that anymore.  “Why not?” I asked.  “And how is this going to affect the home buying process?”

I left that meeting with my questions answered and the satisfaction of knowing I was pre-qualified for the mortgage I sought.  If you’re like most people, and don’t quite remember the difference between pre-qualification and pre-approval, pre-qualification lets you know the amount you’re able to borrow, where pre-approval is an actual decision that you can borrow a certain amount of money as long as the property meets the lender’s criteria.

Since speaking with a loan officer, I’ve come to the opinion that banks who only offer pre-qualification letters are doing their part to maintain high standards of integrity, as they do not want to mislead and disappoint their customers.  I’ve also learned that a pre-qualification letter is all I needed to attach to my purchase offer in today’s real estate market.  And while I may have looked a little behind-the-times when I asked for pre-approval, it turns out the only real difference I’ve encountered in the home-buying process is the terminology.  Other than that, it’s dreams come true, as usual.

Bank of the Ozarks’ NMLS # 464037

By Adam Lucas Adam Lucas holds a Finance degree and an MBA from the University of Kentucky. His work has appeared in many major outlets including Yahoo,, and

Monday on the Money is a weekly commentary from Bank of the Ozarks providing financial advice and solutions important to you and your family.