Pre-Approval Versus Loan Commitment

Pre-Approval Versus Loan Commitment During Mortgage Process

Gustan Cho Associates are mortgage brokers licensed in 48 states

This Article Is About A Pre-Approval Versus Loan Commitment During Mortgage Process

Many first-time home buyers often ask What Is The Difference Between Pre-Approval Versus Loan Commitment. Homebuyer starting house shopping would need a pre-approval letter from a reputable lender. The pre-approval stage of the mortgage process is the most important step. The number one reason why last-minute mortgage loan denials or stress during the loan process happens is due to borrowers not being properly qualified. A less than diligent loan officer issuing a sloppy pre-approval letter is a disaster waiting to happen. There are some sellers who are taking the pre-approval process a step further. Asking for a loan commitment versus pre-approval. What Is The Difference Between Pre-Approval Versus Loan Commitment? In this article, we will cover and discuss Pre-Approval Versus Loan Commitment During Mortgage Process.

Level Of Qualification Mortgage Process

Level Of Qualification Mortgage Process

Every lender will have its own system of qualifying borrowers. However, in general, there are three levels of borrower qualifications.

  • Pre-Qualification
  • Pre-Approval
  • Loans Commitment

Mortgage Pre-Qualification

The initial contact with a loan officer is when most borrowers get pre-qualified for a mortgage. What pre-qualified means is that the borrower has talked and interviewed with a loan officer. The loan officer has determined that the borrower can go further into the pre-approval phase of the mortgage process. In many instances, loan officers do not ask for documents. They just go off the information given to them by borrowers. Most of the time, borrowers will complete an online secured mortgage application. Loan officers will run credit. The loan officer may have a copy of the application, also called 1003. This step along as well as the copy of the borrower’s credit report. A pre-qualification letter is normally issued after the brief interview by the loan officer.

Mortgage Pre-Approval

Most of the documents required to process mortgages are not provided to loan officers during the pre-qualification stage of the mortgage process. The next step is the mortgage pre-approval process where loan officers ask for Document Required To Process Mortgage.

Some of the documents required to process and issue a pre-approval letter are the following:

  • Two years W-2s and tax returns
  • Sixty days bank statements
  • 30 days of paycheck stubs
  • Asset information
  • Divorce and/or child support docs

When Are Borrowers Pre-Approved

Borrowers will be considered to have been pre-approved once they provided all supporting mortgage documents required. Pre-approval letters are only issued after the loan officer has reviewed the borrower’s credit report and ran automated findings from Automated Underwriting System. Borrowers who have unique case scenarios with credit and/or income, loan officers should present it to the mortgage company’s underwriting department. They should get clarification prior to issuing a pre-approval letter. There are minimum mortgage guidelines that loan officers need to be aware of. But more importantly, the loan officer needs to know their lender overlays.

Who Issues Pre-Approvals To Borrowers

Issues Pre-Approvals To Borrowers

A pre-approval letter is issued by a loan originator. The file proceeds to the mortgage processor and underwriter after the borrower gets a purchase contract. Loan officers who have special situations where they are not sure about should present the case scenario to either the mortgage company’s help desk or an underwriter prior. This should be done prior to the issuance of a pre-approval letter. The difference between pre-approval versus loan commitment is that an underwriter has already signed off with a loan commitment whereas not so with a pre-approval.

What Is A Loan Commitment?

The difference between Pre-Approval Versus Loan Commitment is with a loan commitment, the home appraisal has been done and reviewed. Some Pre-Approval Versus Loan Commitment is the same. A mortgage loan commitment means that the borrower’s loan package has been assigned to a mortgage underwriter and reviewed thoroughly. Some mortgage companies will require a home appraisal prior to the issuance of a loan commitment letter. A list of conditions will be stated on the loan commitment letter. What this means is that the underwriter will sign off on the loan commitment. After the loan commitment, the next step will be underwriters will issue a clear to close. This holds true as long as borrowers can provide the list of conditions of the loan commitment.

Clearing Conditions Of Loan Commitment For Clear To Clear

Examples of conditions are the following:

  • Letters of explanations
  • Updated paycheck stubs and bank statements
  • Missing items from loan documents provided
  • Final Verification of Employment
  • Requesting the loan officer to lock the mortgage rate

Pre-Approval Versus Loan Commitment And Lender Overlays

Most lenders have overlays on government and/or conventional loan programs. Borrowers with credit issues and higher debt to income ratios may encounter problems if they decide to choose a lender who has many overlays. What are lender overlays? Overlays are mortgage guidelines that are above and beyond those set by FHA, VA, USDA, FANNIE MAE, AND FREDDIE MAC.

Typical Of Lender Overlays

Many lenders require a 620 FICO or higher

We will cover some examples of overlays:

  • Minimum credit score requirements to qualify for 3.5% down payment FHA Loans is 580 FICO
  • Many lenders require a 620 FICO or higher
  • This lender has overlays on credit scores where they require a higher credit score than HUD’s 580 FICO minimum requirements
  • HUD does not require borrowers to pay off outstanding charge off and collection accounts
  • However, most lenders will require all collections and charge offs to be paid in full prior to closing
  • This lender has overlays on collection accounts
  • Maximum FHA DTI Requirements for an approve/eligible per Automated Underwriting System is 46.9% DTI Front End and 56.9% DTI Back End
  • However, many lenders will cap debt to income ratios to 45% to 50% DTI
  • This is called overlays on DTI

FHA Loan During And After Chapter 13 Bankruptcy

One of the most common overlays instituted by lenders is requiring a one-year or two-year waiting period after the Chapter 13 Bankruptcy discharged date. Borrowers can qualify for FHA Mortgage one year in a Chapter 13 Bankruptcy Payment Plan with the approval of the Bankruptcy Trustee. I have never ever heard of a Trustee not approving a home purchase. 12 months of timely payment is required to all creditors with no late payments. Per HUD guidelines, there is no waiting period after the Chapter 13 Bankruptcy discharged date to qualify for a 3.5% down payment FHA home purchase loan. However, most lenders and banks will require a one to a two-year waiting period after the Chapter 13 Bankruptcy discharged date as part of their overlays.

If you are shopping for a lender who has no overlays, contact us at Gustan Cho Associates. We specialize in government and conventional loans with no overlays. The team at Gustan Cho Associates is available 7 days a week, evenings, weekends, and holidays. Contact us at Gustan Cho Associates at 800-900-8569 or text for a faster response.  Or email us with any mortgage inquiry at

This BLOG On Pre-Approval Versus Loan Commitment Was UPDATED On February 23rd, 2021 by Gina Pogol, the Editor in Chief of Gustan Cho Associates.

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