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If the market in your area is 'hot,' there may be several buyers interested in any given property. One might assume that a seller would automatically take the highest offer, right? Not always. The seller will look at the entire offer, not just the offering price. A seller who wants to move quickly may accept a cash offer (no mortgage approval process required) that's slightly lower than one from a first time buyer, who may or may not get approval for the mortgage they seek. To make your offer as appealing as possible to a prospective seller, get pre-qualified for a mortgage. This is different from pre-approval. A pre-approval says that, based on your income, you should qualify for a mortgage for X number of dollars. A pre-qualification means the lender has reviewed your paperwork, including credit history, and verified your income, and will give you a mortgage for X number of dollars, assuming the house appraises appropriately.