Pre-qualified means you have verbally spoken with a lender and have provided estimated information regarding your credit and income. As a result the lender has said you qualify for a certain price range. Be aware that surprises could come about when the information is actually verified.
Pre-approval means that you have given your lender your tax returns(W2's), pay stubs, bank statements and your credit has been checked. At this point your lender will run your file through an electronic underwriting program and you will receive a full loan approval subject to the appraisal of your property. This pre-approval puts you in the best possible position when making an offer.
What Lenders Are Looking For
Your Credit History is the ultimate factor in determining what programs you qualify for. The better your credit history, the higher your FICO score will be, hence the more loan options you will have.
Current Debt Load-the amount of debt you presently carry will directly affect the maximum loan amount you can qualify for. When applying for a home loan it is imperative not to incur any new debt such as personal loans or auto loans.
How Interest Rates Effect The Process
Funds To Close-at the time of loan approval lenders need to verify enough money for your down payment and/or closing costs. Keep in mind that unsecured sources of funds (ie-credit cards) are not an acceptable source.
Interest Rates- can be viewed as the cost of money at any given time and there are a number of factors that can cause the cost to fluctuate.