When you’re starting to get serious about house hunting, getting pre-approved* by a mortgage lender can be a smart move. 

First and foremost, you’ll know in advance exactly how much you can borrow, so you won’t waste time looking at out-of-reach properties. You’ll be able to better estimate monthly mortgage payment so you can budget around it. Plus, it shows real estate agents and sellers that you are serious–which can give you an advantage over other buyers.


Get your documents ready for pre-approval.

A pre-approval is a written commitment from a lender that you qualify for up to a specific loan amount based on your income and credit information. To get pre-approved, be prepared to provide:

  • Recent pay stubs – usually for the previous two or three months
  • If you are employed, W-2s and federal tax returns for the past two years
  • If you are self-employed, two years of business tax returns, profit and loss statement and a current year-to-date balance sheet. If a current balance sheet is not available, business banking statements may be acceptable for a Sole Proprietor.
  • Two to three months of recent bank statements, and other investment and savings statements
  • Contact information for your landlord (if you rent)
  • Your divorce decree if applicable


The lender will also analyze your credit report (for you and any co-applicant) to determine if you qualify and what rate you may be offered. Having an average or better credit score will work in your favor. Learn more about your credit score.


You can often get a commitment letter in as little as 48 hours.


Get approval in as little as 48 hours.

Once your paperwork is complete, you can often get a commitment letter from your lender in as little as 48 hours. Most pre-approval letters are good for 60-90 days. If you need more time, your lender will most likely pull a current credit report to make sure your financial situation hasn’t changed.


Don’t give up if you don’t get approved.

Reasons for being denied usually fall into two areas—credit and income— and the lender will let you know why you weren’t approved. Before you reapply and depending on your specific denial reasons you may want to:

  • Correct any errors on your credit report, and shoot for getting and staying in the average or better range. (see how to improve your credit score)
  • Pay down as much of your debt as possible.
  • Consider increasing your down payment to help you qualify for the loan amount you want.


Get started now. 

Whether you just started looking for a home or are well into the hunt, getting pre-approved is a great first step. To learn more about PNC’s simplified pre-approval process and get the ball rolling, just contact a PNC Mortgage loan officer.


* Pre-approvals are subject to property underwriting and appraisal. Borrower must satisfy pre-approval conditions outlined in commitment letter. Loan amount subject to property appraisal.