Sarah Coleman-Lee (USAF Ret) & Jessica Lee
AgentOwned Realty (843) 814-1513/ (843) 819-8570


Finding a mortgage lender involves more than just getting a good interest rate; you want to work with the best mortgage companies, staffed by professionals who will guide you through the process. But no worries, we will connect you to one of our affiliated lender partners that will best fit your needs.

Below are some tips to help you hunt for the best mortgage lender:

  • Get your credit score in shape. The higher your credit score, the more bargaining power you’ll have.
  • Know the mortgage lending landscape. Understand how the mortgage process works and what options you have.
  • Ge pre-approved for your mortgage; boost your chances of having your accepted by getting pre-approved.
  • Compare rates from several mortgage lenders. You can search for the best mortgage rates on-line.
  • Ask the right questions and read the fine print. Find out about requirements and fees, including costs beyond principal and interest payments.

We do understand that when it comes to the lending process, just as buying a home, it can get a bit overwhelming. So don't go at it alone, give us a call and let''s schedule some time for us to assist you each step of the way!



Pre-Qualification vs Pre-Approval? 

Let's begin first and foremost by stating, that when it comes to a pre-qualification and a pre-approval, there is a difference.  They both serve as a good indication to potential sellers of your general creditworthiness. However, these days most sellers will NOT accept an offer without at least a pre-approval letter, so if you are serious about buying this is the first step towards getting you in your new home.  Knowing specific details about mortgage limits early on in the process will help you save time in your home search. You don’t want to find the perfect home only to discover its way out of your price range!  So let's take a look at the difference between the two:

mortgage prequalification is a quick estimate of how much home you can probably afford. Why is it a quick estimate? Because, honestly, you don’t need to do much to get one. All you need is your name, phone number, and some numbers (real or fake) that show your income, assets and debts. Give these to your lender over the phone, online or in person—and they’ll give you a prequalification on the spot.

A mortgage preapproval is a step above a prequalification. It’s a thorough investigation of your income, assets, credit history, rental history and debts. It will give you a concrete idea of how much home you can afford—according to your lender. When you get preapproved, a lender verifies you’re employed, checks that you aren’t falsifying the facts, and makes sure you aren’t swimming in debt up to your eyeballs.

When is the best time to get a mortgage preapproval?
The best time to get a preapproval is when you’re ready to start shopping for a home. In fact, we’re going to let you in on a little secret—you can skip prequalification and go straight for preapproval.

What do you need to get a mortgage preapproval?
Remember how easy it was to get prequalified? You didn’t have to provide a lot of intormation, right? Well, get ready. To get preapproved, your lender will dive deeper into your finances and request specific information including some of the following:

Proof of Income and Employment
Paystubs from the last 30 days
W-2s from the last two years
Personal federal tax returns from the last two years (include all tax tables and schedules)
Plus more if any of these apply to you:

Freelance or business tax returns from the last two years (include all tables and schedules)
If retired, your benefit reward letter, your last two years of 1099 forms and tax returns
Proof of Assets
Bank statements from the last two months of all your accounts: checking, savings, Roth IRA, 401(k) and stocks. The statements must show your name, account number and the name of your bank.
If someone in your family is helping you pay for the house, a gift letter signed and dated by the person helping you.
Proof of Identification
A copy of your driver’s license
Your social security number or card
Credit Score
Your lender will check your credit. They’ll do this on their own, so you won’t have to submit anything. (No credit score? Read more here.)

How long does it take to get a mortgage preapproval?
As long as you have all your documents ready, you can get a mortgage preapproval on the same day you visit your lender. But if you have lots of debt and a low credit score, it can delay the process—anywhere from a few days to several months.

Do preapprovals expire?
Yes. Because you could lose your job, take on new debt, or experience other financial hazards. Your preapproval would then no longer reflect your financial life. Mortgage preapprovals typically expire after 60 to 90 days. Be sure to ask the lender how long your pre-approval will be good for.