How to Get Pre-Approved for a Conventional Loan

Aug 2, 2023 | Mortgage Guides

How to Get Pre-Approved for a Conventional Loan

Getting pre-approved for a conventional loan is essential in the home-buying process. It shows sellers that you’re an earnest buyer and gives you an idea of how much you can afford to borrow. In this article, we’ll walk you through the steps of securing your dream home.

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Preparing for Pre-Approval

Assessing Your Financial Situation

  • Income: The crucial factor in determining how much you can borrow. Lenders will confirm your salary, bonuses, and other sources of income.
  • Debts: Lenders will also check the debt-to-income ratio, the percentage of income that goes toward debt. A lower debt-to-income ratio makes you a more attractive borrower.
  • Credit score: A number to assess creditworthiness. A higher credit score indicates a lower-risk borrower who will likely qualify for a lower interest rate.
  • Assets: Lenders will also examine assets, such as savings, investments, and equity. These can be used as collateral to secure a lower interest rate.
  • Expenses: Lenders scrutinize basic living expenses such as rent, transportation, and food. This determines how much money you have to repay a loan.

Checking and Improving Your Credit Score

A credit score is fundamental for a loan or if you seek pre-approval. Below are some steps to keep in mind:

Check Your Credit Report: 

Obtain a copy from the major credit bureaus – Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion. You can get a free credit report every 12 months at Review the report for errors or inaccuracies.

Monitor Your Credit Score: 

Many financial institutions offer free monitoring services. Alternatively, use reputable websites that provide credit score tracking and updates. Track your credit score to see how it changes.

Pay Bills on Time: 

Timely payment of bills, including credit cards, loans, and utilities, is crucial. Late payments can influence your credit rating.

Reduce Credit Card Balances: 

High balances relative to your limits can affect your score. Keep the credit utilization ratio below 30% – use no more than 30% of available credit.

Avoid Opening Unnecessary Credit Accounts: 

Each time you apply for new credit, it results in a hard inquiry, which can temporarily lower your score. Only open new accounts when necessary.

Diversify Your Credit: 

Credit cards, installment loans, and mortgages can benefit your score, demonstrating your ability to handle various responsibilities.

Deal with Collections and Delinquencies: 

If you have past-due accounts or collections, work on resolving them. Pay off debts in collections or negotiate a settlement with the creditor.

Become an Authorized User: 

If someone you trust has a well-managed credit card account, ask them to add you as an authorized user. If a positive payment history is reported, this can boost your credit score.

Avoid Closing Old Accounts: 

Closing old credit accounts can shorten your history and lower your score. Consider paying off the balance and keeping the account open to reduce exposure.

Gathering Required Documentation

  • Proof of income: This can be pay stubs, tax returns, or bank statements.
  • Proof of assets: This can be a recent bank and investment statement or property tax bill.
  • Debt information: A list of all debts, including the amount owed, interest rate, and payment.
  • Personal information: Your name, address, date of birth, and Social Security number.
  • Employment information: Your employer’s name, address, and phone number, as well as your job title and salary.
  • Housing information: The address of the property you are applying for a loan and the purchase price or appraised value.
  • Loan application: A form that requests all the above information and other details.

Finding a Lender

Researching Conventional Loan Lenders

The government does not insure a conventional loan. This means the lender takes on more risk and may charge higher interest rates. Conventional loans are used for larger purchases, such as a home or a car.

Many conventional lenders are available, so compare rates and terms. You can find lenders online, in your community, or through a bank or credit union. When researching creditors, ask about the following:

  • Interest rates: Lenders offer assorted interest rates, so compare rates.
  • Terms: Loans can have terms of up to 30 years, so choose a term that fits your needs.
  • Fees: Lenders may charge origination fees, application fees, and other fees. Ask about these fees before you apply.
  • Down payment: Lenders require a down payment of at least 3% of the purchase price of the home or car. However, some may offer loans with lower down payments.
  • Credit score: Lenders have minimum credit score requirements. 

Once you decide on a conventional lender, apply for the loan. The creditor will review your application. If approved, they will provide a loan agreement. Read the agreement before you sign it. Afterward, the lender will disburse the funds. You will then be responsible for making payments. Make your payments on time to avoid late fees and penalties.

Comparing Loan Options and Terms

Various loans are available, each with a set of terms and conditions. It is important to compare them before choosing one to ensure you get the best possible deal.

Some common options include:

  • Personal loans: These are unsecured, meaning you do not need collateral. Personal loans can be used for various purposes, such as debt consolidation, home improvement, or medical expenses.
  • Secured loans: Backed by collateral, such as a car or a house. Secured loans have lower interest rates than unsecured loans but may also have higher fees.
  • Mortgages: Mortgages are used to purchase a home. They have long terms, such as 15 or 30 years, and can be either fixed-rate or adjustable-rate.
  • Student loans: To finance higher education. Student loans have low-interest rates but may also have high fees.
  • Business loans: To finance a business. Business loans can be either secured or unsecured, and they may have different terms and conditions depending on the type of business and the purpose of the loan.
When comparing options, consider the following factors:

  • Interest rate: The interest rate is the amount you pay in interest over the life of the loan.
  • Term: The stipulated time to repay the loan.
  • Fees: Loans may have origination, application, or other charges.
  • Collateral: Some loans require collateral, such as a vehicle or a house.
  • Purpose: Some loans are designed for home improvement or education.
  • Eligibility: Some loans have minimum credit scores or income requirements.
How to Get Pre-Approved for a Conventional Loan | Wesley Mortgage

Initiate the Pre-Approval Process

Contacting Potential Lenders

  • Research Lenders: Start by researching and identifying potential lenders. You can look for banks, credit unions, online lenders, and mortgage companies. Consider checking their reviews, interest rates, fees, and customer service reputation.
  • Gather Necessary Documents: Organize the necessary documents. These may include recent pay stubs, tax returns, bank statements, and other financial information.
  • Reach Out to Lenders: Contact the lenders via phone, email, or their online pre-approval application process. Provide the basic information about yourself and your financial situation.
  • Discuss Your Needs: When speaking with a lender, discuss your requirements, such as the type of loan, the amount, and the desired term. Mention your preferences for interest rates or loan features.
  • Provide Financial Information: Be transparent. The lender will ask for your income, expenses, assets, and debts to assess your ability to repay the loan.
  • Understand Pre-Approval Terms: Ask the lender about the process, including how long it takes and what documentation they require. Understand that pre-approval is not a final commitment; it’s a conditional approval based on the information provided.
  • Compare Pre-Approval Offers: If you communicate with multiple lenders, compare their offers, including interest rates, fees, and special conditions.
  • Ask Questions: Don’t hesitate to ask for clarifications. Understand the terms, conditions, and potential final approval and closing steps.
  • Lock-in Interest Rates: If you receive a pre-approval with a favorable interest rate, you may have the option to lock it in for a specific period, protecting you from rate increases.
  • Choose a Lender: Once you’ve compared offers and settled with a specific lender, you can proceed with your loan application.

Completing the Pre-Approval Application

  • Choose the Lender: If you have researched and decided on a specific lender, visit their website or branch to access the pre-approval application. Select one with suitable terms if you haven’t chosen a lender yet.
  • Start the Application: Please provide basic personal information, including your full name, date of birth, address, contact information, and social security number.
  • Select Loan Type and Amount: Indicate the type of loan you seek (e.g., mortgage, auto loan) and the amount you wish to borrow. The amount you’re pre-approved for may be subject to the lender’s evaluation of your financial situation.
  • Employment and Income Details: Provide information such as your current job, title, employer’s name, and length of employment. Include details about your income, which may involve providing recent pay stubs, tax returns, or bank statements.
  • Monthly Expenses: Disclose your expenses, including rent or mortgage, utility bills, insurance costs, loan payments, and other financial obligations.
  • Assets and Debts: List your assets, such as savings accounts, investments, and real estate, as well as your outstanding debts.
  • Co-Borrowers or Co-Signers: If you’re applying with a co-signer, include their information in the application, along with their income and financial details.
  • Authorization and Consent: Give the lender permission to pull your credit report to assess your creditworthiness. This step is essential for the pre-approval process.
  • Review and Submit: Examine all the information you’ve provided for accuracy. Make sure you have completed all the required fields. Once you are satisfied, submit the application to the lender.
  • Wait for Response: The lender will assess your financial information to determine your pre-approval status. Depending on the lender, this process may take several days to a week.
  • Receive Pre-Approval Letter: If your application is successful, the lender will provide a pre-approval. This document outlines your eligible amount and the conditions that must be met before final approval.

Benefits of Pre-Approval

The Advantages of Pre-Approval

Loan pre-approval is a valuable step in the borrowing process that provides numerous benefits, especially when planning to make significant purchases or investments. Here are some of the key advantages:

  • Know Your Budget: Pre-approval gives you a clear idea of how much you can borrow, which helps you set a realistic budget. You’ll have a maximum amount, allowing you to focus on properties or items within your financial reach.
  • Confidence in House Hunting: With pre-approval, you can house hunt or shop for other big-ticket items with confidence. Sellers and real estate agents admire pre-approved buyers because they have the financial capacity to make the purchase.
  • Competitive Edge: Preapproval can give you an edge over other potential buyers in competitive markets. Sellers esteem pre-approved buyers as it signifies a higher likelihood of a successful transaction.
  • Faster Loan Processing: Since the pre-approval involves gathering financial information and undergoing a preliminary credit check, the final loan processing may be expedited. This can be advantageous when you need access to funds for time-sensitive purchases.
  • Interest Rate Protection: Some lenders offer the option to lock in an interest rate during pre-approval. This protects you from potential rate increases while you shop for a property or negotiate your purchase terms.
  • Clear Understanding of Costs: Pre-approval provides a breakdown of costs, such as interest rates, fees, and closing costs. This information allows you to compare lenders and loan products.
  • Identify and Fix Credit Issues: If credit issues are identified during the process, you can address them before the final loan application. Improving your credit score can lead to better loan terms.
  • Realistic Negotiations: Armed with pre-approval, you can negotiate with sellers and other parties more confidently, knowing you have the financial backing.
  • Avoid Disappointment: Without pre-approval, you might find your dream home or desired purchase, only to realize that you don’t qualify for the necessary financing. Pre-approval prevents disappointments and allows you to focus on options that fit your budget.
  • Streamlined Closing Process: Pre-approval can simplify the final approval. Underwriting can be smoother since the necessary documentation is already collected.


Getting pre-approved for a conventional loan is a great way to show sellers you’re serious about buying their home. It can also help you avoid surprises when it comes time to close. So if you’re considering buying a home, get pre-approved beforehand.

Here are a few tips to keep in mind:

  • Shop around for a lender and compare interest rates.
  • Make sure you have all the required documentation.
  • Be prepared to answer questions about your income, assets, and debts.
  • Get pre-approved for a loan that covers the price of the home plus closing costs.

Getting pre-approved for a conventional loan can help you buy the home of your dreams. So don’t wait; start the process today! Contact Wesley Mortgage to start your home-buying journey.

Start Your Homebuying Journey Today with Wesley Mortgage

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