Navegó a una página que no está disponible en español en este momento. Seleccione el enlace si desea ver otro contenido en español.

Página principal

Mortgage Prequalification vs. Preapproval

Key takeaway

Prequalification and preapproval are two tools to estimate how much you might be able to borrow for a home. Each may make your homebuying process smoother and can help you and any sellers you negotiate with feel confident about the home price you can afford.

When buying your first home it helps to have a preliminary estimate as to how much money you may be able to borrow based on your financial profile.

Prequalification and preapproval are two tools to estimate how much you might be able to borrow to buy a home. With both, lenders take a preliminary look at your financial information to help you understand how much you might be able to borrow.

Both a prequalification and preapproval can help you search for homes for sale at prices where you are more likely to qualify for the home loan needed to complete the home purchase.

Securing either also helps demonstrate to sellers that you have or are likely to get the financing you need in order to meet their asking price, which can be especially helpful in a competitive market, when multiple potential buyers may be trying to purchase the same home.

Prequalification versus preapproval

There are important differences between prequalification and preapproval, however. Our video below discusses some of those differences, as well as how each may help you as you look to buy your first home.

Transcript: How much can I borrow?

Meet Monica. Her rent was just raised. She wants control of her monthly payments. So she's rethinking her options. One option she's exploring is buying a house. Will she be able to borrow money?

I wonder if I can qualify for a home mortgage loan. Hmm. Looks like I can fill out an online application for a prequalification letter from Wells Fargo. I don't want to get into a big deal right now. But I am curious.

Wait. I don't have to give you my Social Security number. Okay. Sure. I'll tell you how much I get paid every month. Okay. Here's what I spent. So how much can I borrow? Really? You'll send me a letter right away?

{Computer dings}
Wow. Thanks.

A Prequalification Letter tells the lender what you earn and spend. Gives you an estimate of what you may qualify to borrow. Helps you know where to start your search for a home and requires no fee, no credit check, and no commitment.

Susan and Ian's family is growing and they need more space. So they're looking for their first home. They've looked at several properties, but now they need to know how much they may be able to borrow.

I really like the yellow house we looked at yesterday. There's room for a nursery.

Yeah, but the blue house has an extra room for all my gaming equipment, too.

Oh, gosh. Did you submit the mortgage application to the Wells Fargo Home Mortgage consultant?

Yes, yesterday. Mike at Wells Fargo. He walked me through it. I could have done it online, but he made it much easier. Let me just check my email. Oh, wow. Here it is. He sent us the PriorityBuyer® Preapproval Letter.

Looks like we can afford either house.

That's great. Let's make an offer on the blue house.

Ian: Yes! Yes.

To get a PriorityBuyer® Preapproval Letter, you'll submit a mortgage application and the bank will do a limited credit review. If you're approved, the agent and seller know you're a qualified buyer. There's no fee or commitment.

Justin and John are ready to make an offer on a house they love.

They're ready to buy. But how can they position their offer to win the bid in a competitive market?

What's this?

John: What is it?

Hey, guess what we got?

The dinner reservation at Cafe Khloe downtown?

No, even better.

Oh. Really? What is it?

Do you remember a couple days ago when we sent in our mortgage application to Rebecca at Wells Fargo?

Yes. I cannot stop thinking about it. But what did you find out?

I'd say...let's make an offer on the Mediterranean style house that we love so much.

Yes! Yes!

Justin and John received a Credit Approval Letter, which is the highest standard of credit approval. Their financial information was verified and a detailed credit check was run. This letter tells the seller and agent they can move forward as buyers. 

No matter where you are in your search for a home, from curiosity about what you might afford, to actively searching or ready to make an offer, your Wells Fargo Home Mortgage consultant can help you decide which qualification letter is best for you. We'll get you the information you need to move forward in your search because we're here to help.

Wells Fargo Home Mortgage is a division of Wells Fargo Bank, N.A.
© 2016-2022 Wells Fargo Bank, N.A. NMLSR ID 399801.

Get a mortgage prequalification

Get prequalified to make your home purchase offer stronger

A prequalification shows sellers you’re a serious buyer. Plus, you’ll get a better idea of your potential loan amount, monthly payment, and interest rate.

Get Prequalified

Related articles

Important documents for the homebuying process

This 11-item checklist will help you gather the documents you’ll need throughout your homebuying journey. 

View article

What are the important steps when buying a home?

Analyzing your finances, learning about mortgage products and programs, and getting organized may help you feel more confident. 

View article

Still have questions?

Call Us

New Loans

Mon – Fri: 7 am – 8 pm
Sat: 8 am – 6 pm
Central Time

Existing Loans

Mon – Fri: 7 am – 10 pm 
Sat: 8 am – 2 pm 
Central Time


Let Us Contact You

Have a home mortgage consultant call you back.

Ready to get started?

Get Prequalified
Or call us at 1-877-510-2079