Good, better, best: pre-qualified, pre-approved, or offer ready?

2 min read

Mortgage terminology

If you’re thinking about buying a new home, you may be confused by all the mortgage lingo you hear. Before you go house hunting, you’ll first need to know how much home you can finance. When you start the home loan process, you’ll come across terms like pre-qualified and pre-approved, often used interchangeably, but are they the same thing? What does it mean to get pre-qualified? How does that differ from pre-approval? Which one is right for you? And which one positions you best to stand out from the competition and secure the home of your dreams?

Read on to learn more about pre-qualification, pre-approval, and a surprising third option that catapults your offer to the top.

Good, better, best: where do you stand?

Lenders and agents often use these terms to describe a buyer’s status in the loan and verification process. Here’s how they stack up.

Good: Pre-Qualified

In addition to asking a few basic questions about your finances, a lender uses information that you self-report about your income and debt to give you a basic budget and preliminary green light to move forward. The lender is comfortable that you will qualify for a loan, but it’s a verbal transaction and there’s no guarantee because they have not done a thorough review of your financial records. You’ll receive an approximate loan amount that you can share with agents as you go through the home search process. It’s a rough estimate and a good place to start, but when you’re ready to make an offer on a home, you’ll need to work quickly to gain full approval.

Better: Pre-Approved

While pre-qualification is a good thing, pre-approval is far better and absolutely necessary in today’s market. To gain pre-approval, you’ll formally submit a mortgage application and provide necessary documents, such as pay stubs, tax returns, W2s, and bank statements. In addition to running your credit, your finances, income, and assets are also fully vetted. If everything looks good, the lender conditionally commits to loan you the money and issues an approval letter that you can share with your sellers and their agent. Being pre-approved shows sellers that you’re a serious buyer and positions you to move quicker to closing than someone who is only pre-qualified.

Best: The Keller Mortgage Offer Ready Program

Here at Keller Mortgage, we reinforce your pre-approval with a third option: our Offer Ready program. You stand out from the competition with a fully underwritten pre-approval commitment, even if you don’t have a specific property in mind yet. That means you can shop around for your perfect home with confidence because you are backed by a guarantee from a top leader in the industry.

This is the strongest pre-approval you can get, which makes you a top contender in the marketplace. Once pre-approved and Offer Ready, you’ll be equipped to shop with an approval certificate that includes:

  • Approved Purchase Price
  • Loan Amount
  • Loan Program
  • Application Number
  • Expiration Date

Other benefits of the comprehensive Offer Ready program include these great perks:

  • Pairs you with the best-fit loan
  • Accelerates your loan approval
  • Positions you to close quickly
  • Elevates your offer and increases the probability of acceptance
  • Keeps you up-to-date on your loan progress
  • Puts you in touch with full-service support

Are you offer ready?

Ready to let your buyer know that you’re Offer Ready? Contact our friendly team at Keller Mortgage today or click here to schedule a call.

This is the strongest pre-approval you can get, which makes you a top contender in the marketplace


Keep learning


First-Time Homebuyer’s Guide (Part One)

First-time homebuyer fears can range from “I can’t afford to buy a home” to “I can’t buy a home because my credit score is too bad.” While it can be natural to have these thoughts, it’s important to face fears with facts. Let's take affordability, for instance.


First-Time Homebuyer’s Guide (Part Two)

In part two, we will explore three more components of the first-time homebuying experience so you can embark on it with ease and confidence. Each magnificent tip below is brought to you courtesy of Your First Home (Second Edition), authored by Gary Keller and Jay Papasan.

Equal Housing Logo

NMLS #1025894

Consumer Access

Keller Home Loans is a division of Mutual of Omaha Mortgage, Inc., NMLS ID 1025894. 3131 Camino Del Rio N 1100, San Diego, CA 92108. AL Consumer Credit License 22123; AK Broker/Lender License AK1025894. AZ Mortgage Banker License 0926603; AR Combination Mortgage Banker/Broker/Servicer License 109250; Licensed by the Department of Financial Protection & Innovation under the CA Residential Mortgage Lending Act, License 4131356; CO Mortgage Registration 1025894; CT Mortgage Lender License ML-1025894; DE Lender License 028515; DC Mortgage Dual Authority License MLB1025894; FL Mortgage Lender Servicer License MLD1827; GA Mortgage Lender License/Registration 46648; HI Mortgage Loan Originator Company License HI-1025894; ID Mortgage Broker/Lender License MBL-2081025894; IL Residential Mortgage Licensee MB.6761115; IN-DFI Mortgage Lending License 43321; IA Mortgage Banker License 2019-0119; KS Mortgage Company License MC.0025612; KY Mortgage Company License MC707287; LA Residential Mortgage Lending License 1025894; ME Supervised Lender License 1025894; MD Mortgage Lender License 21678; MA Mortgage Broker and Lender License MC1025894; MI 1st Mortgage Broker/Lender/Servicer Registrant FR0022702; MN Residential Mortgage Originator Exemption MN-OX-1025894; MS Mortgage Lender 1025894; MO Mortgage Company License 21-2472; MT Mortgage Broker and Lender License 1025894; NE Mortgage Banker License 1025894; NV Exempt Company Registration 4830. Licensed by the NH Banking Department, Mortgage Banker License 19926-MB; Licensed by the NJ Banking and Insurance Department. NJ Residential Mortgage Lender License 1025894; NM Mortgage Loan Company License 1025894; NC Mortgage Lender License L-186305; ND Money Broker License MB103387; OH Residential Mortgage Lending Act Certificate of Registration RM.804535.000; OK Mortgage Lender License ML012498; OR Mortgage Lending License ML- 5208; PA Mortgage Lender License 72932; RI Lender License 20163229LL. RI Loan Broker License 20163230LB; SC BFI Mortgage Lender/Servicer License MLS-1025894; SD Mortgage Lender License ML.05253; TN Mortgage License 190182; TX Mortgage Banker Registration 1025894; UT Mortgage Entity License 8928021; VT Lender License 6891; VA Mortgage Broker and Lender License, NMLS ID #1025894 (; WA Consumer Loan Company License CL-1025894; WI Mortgage Banker License 1025894BA; WY Mortgage Lender/Broker License 3488. Toll Free #: (877) 978-1922. Subject to Credit Approval. For licensing information, go to: