Q. I’ve been renting and I want to buy a home. Should I get “pre- qualified” or “pre-approved” for a mortgage, and which is better?
A. You can get a “pre-qualification” letter from a lender fairly easily after a 10-minute phone interview. However, you are in a stronger position to buy if you get a “pre-approval” letter, which means the lender has verified your income in terms of employment, funds on deposit, and your credit history.

Pre-approval may take a few days to a few weeks but it’s worth the effort since it tells the sellers you can get financing. All that remains is the property appraisal for you to get a home loan.