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How Long Is a Pre-Approval Good For?

Mortgage and Lending with US Bank NMLS: 22343

How Long Is a Pre-Approval Good For?


You've decided to make the leap and enter the real estate market as a buyer.  You've been looking at homes online, the temptation has become too strong and you realize it's time to hit the street and actually start looking at properties.  Your Realtor almost immediately informs you that not only will she not participate in your search before she knows you're pre-approved, but also that in this pandemic day and age, without a pre-approval letter no serious listing agent will even let you step foot in the home for a viewing.  And so you reach out to your preferred lender and you get pre-approved for a mortgage.  Now, how long will that preapproval be good for?


There are a few elements involved in the lifecycle of a pre-approval so let's look at some of the ones that typically govern the validity of your profile and the day it may expire:


Credit Report

It's safe to say that your credit report has a 90-day expiration.  Even in cases where a lender will permit 120 days, we have to assume that a purchase timeline might be 30 days.  Since it's largely not in your control, you never want your credit report expiring while you're in contract.  At some point between 75 and 90 days, credit expiration becomes a material factor.  Now, if the original credit pull has you with 800 FICO scores and you've done nothing that would jeopardize your strong credit rating, it's highly unusual for your credit report to suddenly become an issue, but a re-pull is warranted if you think you may enter a non-contingent contract when you're coming up on your expiration date.


Tax Filing Deadline

In 2020, the income tax filing deadline was July 15, but in most years, April 15 is the day by which you either need to file your tax returns or file an extension.  If your pre-approval did not include this year's filing and you've since filed your return (including e-file), your pre-approval must be updated accordingly.


End of Year

During January and February, most of us get our W-2 forms, our 1099s, K-1s and other year-end statements of earnings.  All of these must be included in your file, so if your property search crosses the end of the year, your pre-approval would need to include the newly released information.


Life Events

If you get a new job, your hours on your current job are reduced or changed, if you get divorced, buy a new car, etc., all of these events could impact your pre-approval.  A good way to conceptualize your pre-approval would be to assume that anything that impacts your income, assets or credits could influence your mortgage application.  Let us know when these things happen and we'll make the necessary adjustments.


Your mortgage pre-approval is always a work in progress until you go into contract.  We can make any necessary changes and advise on financial aspects in advance too.  We're here to help and ultimately our goal is to build and maintain and strong and ready file so that you have the best chance of winning your offer.  We need your help to do that and we, in the industry, can all help by reminding you it's not over until the keys are in your hands.


Best if used before,


Rob Spinosa
Vice President of Mortgage Lending

Guaranteed Rate
NMLS: 22343 
Cell/Text: 415-367-5959 


Marin Office:  324 Sir Francis Drake Blvd., San Anselmo, CA  94960

Berkeley Office:  1400 Shattuck Ave., Suite 1, Berkeley, CA  94709

*The views and opinions expressed on this site about work-related matters are my own, have not been reviewed or approved by Guaranteed Rate and do not necessarily represent the views and opinions of Guaranteed Rate.  In no way do I commit Guaranteed Rate to any position on any matter or issue without the express prior written consent of Guaranteed Rate's Human Resources Department.


Guaranteed Rate. Illinois Residential Mortgage Licensee NMLS License #2611 3940 N. Ravenswood Chicago, IL 60613 - (866) 934-7283

George Souto
George Souto NMLS #65149 FHA, CHFA, VA Mortgages - Middletown, CT
Your Connecticut Mortgage Expert

Rob if nothing changes then it is a safe assumption that a borrower will continue to be pre-approved, and will only require the updating of documents.  Unfortunately like you pointed out sometimes the changes can happen which are out of our control, which can impact the pre-approval.

Jul 22, 2020 09:27 AM
Joan Cox
House to Home, Inc. - Denver Real Estate - 720-231-6373 - Denver, CO
Denver Real Estate - Selling One Home at a Time

Rob, this is a common question from buyers, especially if they are not purchasing right away.

Jul 22, 2020 10:35 AM
Lottie Kendall
Compass - San Francisco, CA
Helping make your real estate dreams a reality

Hi Rob - as a Realtor, I always try to remind my clients to check in with their lender often. Programs change, life changes, adjustments need to be made....


Jul 22, 2020 11:41 AM
Kathy Streib
Cypress, TX
Home Stager/Redesign

Rob- this is a good reminder for buyers to work with a lender who will be on top of this and make you aware of deadlines, changes, and anything else that will impact your pre=approval. 

Jul 22, 2020 06:58 PM
Debb Janes
Nature As Neighbors - Camas, WA
Put My Love of Nature At Work for You

And right now, especially, there are changes going on that can very well impact things from one day to the next. This is a great reminder to be in open, and frequent, communication with your lender. 

Jul 25, 2020 06:57 AM
Kathy Streib
Cypress, TX
Home Stager/Redesign

Jul 25, 2020 07:13 PM
Kat Palmiotti
eXp Commercial, Referral Divison - Kalispell, MT
Helping your Montana dreams take root

Excellent post. Someone who gets a pre-approval needs to be really careful with everything they do, buy, quit, etc until they close!

Jul 26, 2020 04:59 AM
Doug Dawes
Keller Williams Evolution - 447 Boston Street, Suite #5, Topsfield, MA - Topsfield, MA
Your Personal Realtor®

Staying preapproved or prequalified is most important and most buyers do not understand that. Your post has made it clear the knowledge one must have Rob Spinosa 

Jul 26, 2020 05:51 AM
Thomas J. Nelson, REALTOR ® e-Pro CRS RCS-D Vets
Big Block Realty 858.232.8722 - La Jolla, CA
CEO of Vision Drive Realty - Coastal San Diego

Great info and a simple layout. Bookmarked. I'm from San Mateo (hello Bay Area!) and one of my two preferred lenders here in San Diego is actually with Guaranteed Rate Mortgage too! Good post!

Jul 26, 2020 06:52 AM
Grant Schneider
Performance Development Strategies - Armonk, NY
Your Coach Helping You Create Successful Outcomes

Hi Rob Spinosa - good points to remember and make sure nothing in your control changes.

Jul 26, 2020 10:10 AM
Jeff Dowler, CRS
eXp Realty of California, Inc. - Carlsbad, CA
The Southern California Relocation Dude

More good education here for buyers, Rob! Great point about the necessity of getting pre-approved as more and more listing agents require them. And any reputable agent doing their job will ask for this as well, even before you start looking.


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