A mortgage approval is a loan application that has been reviewed and approved by an underwriter. Most of the pre-approvals that you see today are in fact a “Loan Originator Opinion Letter”. Loan Originators are not allowed to approve a loan, that is the job of the underwriter. In fact, for government loans, the underwriter needs the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Direct Endorsement Certification from HUD before they can underwrite those programs. Loan originators cannot obtain a Direct Endorsement Certification, so they cannot offer an approval on any HUD loans. Unless the lender you work with has their underwriting department underwrite all ‘pre-approvals’ they are not true pre-approvals, they are pre-qualifications. This is law, not semantics.
TILA-RESPA Integrated Disclosure Rule (TRID) regulations have changed the way consumers shop for a mortgage as well as the way lenders are required to manage the pre-approval process, how the letter is issued and what it’s called.
Today most lenders are really issuing pre-qualification letters.
No matter what it is called, the process the lender goes through is what is most important to the consumer and the real estate community.
For a quality pre-qualification, a borrower should have a thorough interview with a loan originator. The loan originator should pull and review the borrower’s credit. Although a loan originator cannot require a borrower to provide any back-up documentation prior to making an official mortgage application, most consumers are happy to provide all documentation required for that loan originator to make a sound conclusion. The loan details should be run through an automated underwriting system; either Fannie Mae’s Desktop Underwriter (DU), or Freddie Mac’s Loan Prospector (LP) for an automated approval. The Loan originator will review all the information presented to ensure that the documents support the details of the transaction and then provide the consumer with a Pre-Qualification Certificate to give to their real estate agent.
There are plenty of lenders who issue pre-approval letters without doing most of these steps. So, the name of the document has no bearing on the quality of the process or the likelihood of the loan actually becoming fully approved once the borrower has committed to a property.
Make sure you are working with a lender who does a thorough review with the borrower, and explains what is needed to issue the letter. Your lender should be an expert in their field, which is why you should work with a Wintrust Mortgage loan originator.
For more information on how to avoid pre-qualification/pre-approval pitfalls and to learn more about today’s more complex mortgage process call us today, we will happily come to your office for a Wintrust Lunch and Learn. We promise a lively and informative meeting. Book yours today!