Pre Approval vs Pre Qualification: Prepare for your Homebuying Journey

Pre approval vs pre qualification

Like any journey, the adventure of buying a home goes smoothest when you’re properly prepared. 

Deciding between pre approval vs pre qualification is an important starting point on your adventure. While those terms are incredibly similar, they do not have the same applications for your home loan search or your buying power. For more on pre approval vs pre qualification, continue reading or get in touch with our home loan experts today. 

At Bison State Bank, we’re your trusted guides along every step of the home buying journey. We will make sure you’re completely informed on every choice you may face, and that you continue smoothly along the path until we reach your destination in your new home. 

Pre Approval vs Pre Qualification: Fork in the road

Alright, so you’re going to start with a pre approval or a pre qualification. But, which one do you need? Here’s a breakdown of both options:

Pre qualification

A pre qualification is based on data submitted completely by the consumer. A loan officer will take down some basic information (like your income, debt, assets, etc.) and give you a rough estimate of how much you can borrow. This means none of the estimates are based on hard data, like your credit score and credit history, or your current financial assets. It’s essentially a well-educated guess, but the estimated loan amount is far from a sure thing.

Pre approval

A pre approval goes a few steps further than a pre qualification. Rather than relying on verbal data, you provide your prospective lender with hard information about your financial history, essentially submitting your official mortgage application. The lender will then check your credit history and other financial records, using this information to craft a home loan policy that matches your needs and your situation.

We believe in setting our client’s on the right path at Bison State Bank, so we prefer to work with mortgage pre approvals. This way, you have a full understanding of what you can—and can’t—afford, and you’re ready to hit the ground running with an offer and loan application at a moment’s notice.

Pre Approval vs Pre Qualification: Start on the right path

Before we explain how pre approval and pre qualification differ, let’s look at what unites them. 

In simple terms, a mortgage pre approval or pre qualification is a preliminary evaluation of a person’s potential buying power. With this information, buyers have a better understanding of how much house they can afford, and realtors can adjust their showings to better fit their client’s needs.

Because it’s a preliminary evaluation, your pre approval or pre qualification should be the starting point of your home buying journey, not just a step along the way. With it, you have a complete picture of your purchasing power, and you can adjust your search accordingly. 

With an early pre approval or pre qualification and complete financial picture, you minimize the risk of falling in love with a home that you ultimately can’t afford. And when you do find that perfect match, a mortgage pre approval online from Bison State Bank gives you a leg up when submitting your offer. 

Related: What you should know about mortgage pre approval online

Pre Approval vs Pre Qualification: Pack accordingly

For both pre approvals and pre qualifications, you will need certain financial information to get started. Make sure you have the following before applying:

  • Identification: This might seem simple, but it’s still an important document. You will need some form of government issued identification, like a driver’s license or passport.
  • Proof of income: You’ll need to establish your monthly income with your prospective lender by providing certain documentation. These include your pay stubs from the last 30 days, your most recent tax return or W-2, and a proof of income letter from your employer.
  • Proof of assets: A prospective lender will need to see bank statements and investment account statements to ensure you have the funds needed for a down payment and closing costs.
  • Credit information: Lenders use the information on a credit report to get a better picture of a person’s financial situation. This helps them determine whether to lend you money or not, and what interest rates to charge on loans based on their own financial risk of doing so.

Related: Our mortgage pre approval checklist

Pre Approval vs Pre Qualification: Stand out from your competition

With a pre approval or pre qualification in hand from a trusted lender, like Bison State Bank, you can truly jump feet first into the home market. On top of the added benefit of knowing your purchasing power, a pre approval opens the door for your home buying search. Many real estate agents won’t even show a house to a prospective buyer who doesn’t have a pre-approval. 

When we are involved with the search from the start, it helps us make sure your home search is going smoothly. With a mortgage pre approval from Bison State Bank, you’ve already gone through the mortgage application process, so you have everything you need to complete a transaction.

When you’ve gotten a pre approval and your offer sits on a strong foundation, it helps win deals because the agent knows someone has actually looked at the hard numbers.

Related: How to stand out when putting an offer on a house

Find an experienced guide for the trip ahead

Preparing correctly sets your journey on the right foot, but if you’re not an experienced traveler you can still get lost and end up in a destination you didn’t intend. Whether you’re a first-time homebuyer or you’ve purchased homes in the past, the home market is tricky and ever-evolving, so we recommend a qualified guide on your trip. 

At Bison State Bank, we’re experts at helping clients just like you find the homes of their dreams, with a mortgage loan that fits their unique financial situation. We’ve helped thousands of clients across the country with their home search, leaning on our core tenants of honesty, integrity, and experience.


Online mortgage lenders don’t always have the best reputation, because a few bad apples tainted the industry with dishonest tactics. Knowing exactly who to trust with an online mortgage application can be difficult.

You can be sure of this: we’re not concerned about our own bottom line at Bison State Bank. We do everything in our power to help you, even if it’s not the best return for us. Our responsibility is to guide you through the process. We originate, process, and fund each mortgage with our company’s money and sell them on the secondary mortgage market.

No games. No gimmicks. No hidden fees. Our first and only goal is to provide you with the mortgage shopping experience you deserve.


One thing that sets us apart from other online mortgage companies is our commitment to client success. As part of that commitment, we don’t charge a lender fee. We don’t believe we are successful unless we find you the best online mortgage for your individual needs. 

If a certain mortgage doesn’t make sense for you, we won’t pressure you into taking it. Period.

We founded this company in 2008, on the heels of one of the worst financial crises in this country’s history, and when trust in mortgage lenders was at an all-time low. Bison State Bank was a response to that upheaval: an online mortgage company who puts the client first. 


Our team of online mortgage lenders have decades of combined experience and a passion for helping people better their lives. But we’re more than that. We’re homeowners, too. 

We understand what buying a home means: The excitement of the search, the stress of submitting an offer, the elation of having your offer accepted, and the frustration of a rejected offer. 

We know what you’re going through, and we fully understand how to give your offer and home search a leg up on the competition. Our loan officers average more than 10 years of experience in the industry. In that time, they’ve helped countless clients just like you find online mortgage loans to secure their financial futures. 

Meet the Bison State Bank team

Bring Bison State Bank along on your home buying journey

Buying a home is one of the biggest financial decisions of your life. It’s important to have the right team to support you throughout the process. 

Our experienced mortgage professionals at Bison State Bank are passionate about helping our clients with their first steps toward a better future. We will help you with important decisions like pre approval vs pre qualification, and we’ll guide you through every step of your journey.

Unlike other online mortgage lenders, our loan officers won’t try to fit you into a loan that’s not right for your situation. We are seasoned professionals in this industry with the experience to fit each client with a tailored loan solution. The end result leaves them satisfied with their purchase and confident in their decisions. 

Contact us today to see how our honesty, integrity, and experience helps with finding you the right home loans.