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Why Get Pre-Approved for a Mortgage Loan?

Learn more about the benefits of getting pre-approved for a mortgage loan before you start bidding on a home.

If you’re shopping for a home, you may be wondering when you should start looking for a mortgage. Some people will advise that it’s fine to wait until after you’ve made an offer on a home to look for a mortgage. This can be true in some cases, but shopping for a mortgage and getting pre-approved before you’re bidding on a home can offer great benefits.

We’ve described some of the reasons that you may want to consider getting a pre-approval letter in this blog.

What is Mortgage Pre-Approval?

Getting pre-approved for a mortgage is when you submit a preliminary application for a mortgage. This lets the lender review certain aspects of your profile to determine how much money you’ll be approved for and what rate. After you’re pre-approved, you have a period of time to accept the mortgage, at which time you may have to provide additional documentation.

Pre-approval is nonbinding, so even if you decide to walk away from a certain mortgage, you won’t be penalized. Just keep in mind that the process does require a hard inquiry into your credit, which can drop your score a few points.

If you are applying for multiple mortgages, it’s a good idea to do them all in a short time frame. Loan applications that occur within a 14-45 day window (depending on the situation) will be registered as a single inquiry and will not affect your credit as much as multiple hard inquiries.

Perks of Mortgage Loan Pre-Approval

Here are some of the top benefits of getting pre-approved for a mortgage.

1. Know your budget – and stick to it

If you have a pre-approval in hand when you are shopping for a home, there will be little room for guessing how much you can afford. You’ll know how much money you can get approved for, but also have a chance to talk with your mortgage lender about budgeting.

This allows you to stick to your budget and ensure you’re buying a home you can afford. It’s easy to get swept away when you fall in love with a home, but if you’ve taken the time to think about your budget and apply for pre-approval, you’ll be more likely to stay within your means.

2. Be competitive for the home you want

The home-buying market is competitive these days. When you make an offer on a home, you are likely going to be up against several other buyers. A mortgage pre-approval can give you a leg up by showing the seller that you are serious.

Sometimes, sellers even want to see pre-approvals before they accept your offer. This lets them know that not only can you afford the offer you’re making, but the closing process will move quickly.

3. Open the door to negotiation

If you can show a seller that you’re pre-approved for a mortgage, they may be more willing to negotiate with you. When they see that you’ve done the work to get the numbers on paper and are ready to purchase, it can be an attractive position to be in.

4. Close on your home faster

If you already have a pre-approval, you won’t have to worry as much about going through the whole mortgage shopping process once you’ve made an offer. You won’t have to wait for lenders to run your financial details and determine if you are approved – you’ve already done this step!

This can expedite the process, getting you from offer to owner faster. This is also attractive to sellers.

5. Have more time to decide on a mortgage

Getting a mortgage is a major life decision. Where you go to get your mortgage, what APR you end up with, and the amount and terms of your mortgage will shape your finances for a long time to come.

Getting the best deal can be a lengthy process. It’s best to allow yourself enough time to shop with multiple lenders, talk to different loan officers, and keep track of the pros and cons of different mortgages. If you take your time shopping, this can guarantee that you’ll end up with the best deal, and less likely to feel the need to refinance shortly after moving into your new home.

Pre-approvals last for 60-90 days, depending on the lender. So, you can complete this process ahead of shopping, eliminating some of the stress of finding and applying for a mortgage under the pressure of a seller.

Comparing Mortgages

One of the perks of pre-approval, as we discussed, is having time to compare different mortgages and find your optimal fit.

One way you can do this is by keeping track of the features of different mortgages and calculating an estimated monthly payment.

Click to see our housing calculators for an estimated monthly mortgage payment and home affordability calculator.

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  • The Great Giveback Official Rules

    1. Eligibility: No purchase or obligation necessary to participate and win. All participants must be 19 years of age or older at time of contest participation. Employees of Listerhill Credit Union are not eligible to register for the contest.

    2. How To Enter the Contest: All Listerhill members who have consumer loans in good standing, (subject to limitations below) are automatically entered. Anyone who takes out a new loan with Listerhill Credit Union, or refinances a loan from another lender with Listerhill Credit Union (subject to limitations below) will automatically be entered to win. Limit of one entry per loan.

    NO PURCHASE NECESSARY: To enter the contest without a loan, send a self-addressed, stamped envelope to: Listerhill Credit Union, P.O. Box 566, Sheffield, AL 35660, Attn: Great Giveback Contest Entry. Limit one entry per person. Written entries must be received no later than July 3, 2021.

    Listerhill Credit Union will not be responsible for incomplete, lost, late, misdirected or illegible entries or for failure to receive entries. All entries become property of Listerhill Credit Union and none will be returned. Any questions regarding the number of entries submitted shall be determined by Listerhill Credit Union in its sole discretion, and Listerhill Credit Union reserves the right to disqualify any entries by persons determined to be tampering with, violating, or abusing any aspect of the contest.

    3. Contest Entry Requirements: In the event the Credit Union, in its sole discretion, determines that any Entry contains content that does not comply with these Official Rules or does not otherwise comply with regulatory guidelines, Credit Union reserves the right to disqualify the entry.

    4. Determining the Winner: A Credit Union employee will select at random four (4) $500 winners (one per day July 12-15) and one Grand Prize Winner from all entries received on July 16, 2021. You do not have to be present to win.

    5. Prizes: $500 Cash Prize: the Credit Union will award four (4) members with $500 cash each. Grand Prize: The Credit Union will pay up to $25,000 toward your loan with Listerhill Credit Union, or combination of loans. No loan payments will be made to loans with any other lender. No cash equivalent provided, and the total prize amount may be less depending on the outstanding amount of loan balance(s) with Listerhill Credit Union. In no event will the prize awarded exceed the total amount of the winner’s outstanding balance of qualifying loans with Listerhill Credit Union. Federal, state and local taxes are the sole responsibility of the winner. IRS regulations require the Credit Union file a 1099 on behalf of the winner.

    A Credit Union employee will call the prize winners and the prize winners will be called up to five times during regular business hours at number provided on entry form and will leave no messages. Failure to reach winner during these calls may result in disqualification of winner, forfeiture of his or her interest in all prizes, and selection of a substitute winner drawn from the drum. Winner will be required to schedule a time, at least 48 hours in advance, to visit Listerhill Credit Union, located at 4790 2nd Street, Muscle Shoals AL, 35661 in person, during regular business hours within seven (7) days of being notified to claim prizes by providing proof of eligibility for prize won and completing and signing an affidavit of eligibility and a liability and publicity release. Failure of any Winner to timely contact the Credit Union, visit the above Credit Union office in person and sign and return any required affidavit and release, or to claim a prize or comply with any term or condition of these Official Rules, will result in drawing Winner's disqualification and the forfeiture of his or her interest in the prize. Winners may waive their right to receive prizes. Prizes are non-assignable and nontransferable. No substitutions allowed by winner.

    6. To be eligible to win, all loans must be in good standing (not more than 30 days past due at the time of drawing. Eligible loans are limited to auto loans (no indirect dealer loans), personal loans (no loans secured by real property, such as mortgages, 2nd mortgages, and Home Equity Lines of Credit) and recreation loans made to consumer borrowers (not business or commercial loans).

    6. Participation. By participating, entrants agree to be bound by these Official Rules and the decisions of the Contest. Except where prohibited, acceptance of any prize constitutes winner's consent to the publication of his or her name, biographical information and likeness in any media for any commercial or promotional purpose, without limitation the Internet, or further compensation. Prizes not won and claimed by eligible winners in accordance with these Official Rules will not be awarded and will remain the property of the Credit Union.

  • How do I redeem my Merchandise Rewards?

    The easiest way to redeem your Merchandise Rewards is to log into Listerhill’s Online Banking and click the “Get Info” link to the right of your credit card information. This will take you to our credit card servicing site within the same window. Select “Rewards” on the upper right side within the screen (below FICO Score) and on the next screen, click on the CURewards logo. This will automatically sign you in to be able to redeem your Merchandise Rewards points!

  • What are the benefits of becoming a Listerhill Works partner organization?

    1. Completely free program and zero liability to your company.

    2. Easy to implement – requires no additional staffing or resource allocation.

    3. Builds employee loyalty and helps your organization stand out in a competitive employment market.

    4. Encourages financially stable employees through free on-site financial workshops.

    5. Initial on-site employee orientation; re-orientations and free financial seminars available. Once signed up, our SEG partner organizations are offered a free 30-40 minute on-site orientation to educate employees about the benefits of belonging to the Listerhill Credit Union financial cooperative. This informative and helpful session gives your employees a chance to ask questions and learn about the many benefits, products and services that membership provides them. Once on board, we also offer Listerhill Works partner organizations free Lunch n’ Learn seminars for employees. Topics include creating a budget, paying for college, debt management and how to buy a home.

    6. Credit union support at benefit fairs and open enrollment.

    7. Same-day account opening – we can immediately assist your employees who would like to open an account during our visit.

    8. Free informational materials – We provide all materials at no charge, including brochures and financial wellness educational workbooks

    9. Free participation in employee benefits fairs, new employee orientation meetings and other organizational events.

    10. No hassle partnership – we do all the work!

  • How do your employees benefit from being a Listerhill Works partner?

    1. Lifetime credit union membership

    2. Competitive rates on a wide range of savings products like:

    • Share Savings
    • Money Market
    • Certificates
    • IRAs
    • My Goal Savings
    • Explorer Rewards

    3. A wide range of loan products like:

    • Auto loans
    • Personal loans
    • Recreational loans

    4. Competitive loan and savings rates.

    5. 24/7 account access with Smart ATMs, Online and Mobile Banking, or by telephone with Automated Access. The choice is yours.

    6. eStatements

    7. Overdraft protection

    8. Up to 3 overdraft refunds per year on us.

    9. First box of checks free when you open your new checking account.

    10. Free Visa debit card with rewards or a UNA Keystone Debit Card to show your #lionpride and give back to the University.

    11. Checking accounts with no minimum balance required.

    12. Interest-earning checking accounts

    13. Free Online Banking with features like:

    • Free Online Bill Pay
    • PopMoney
    • Notify Me Alerts
    • Personal Finance Manager

    14. 24/7 Access to Smart ATMS with features like:

    • Make a deposit
    • Get exact change
    • Make loan payments
    • Speak with a real, local representative

    15. Access to 5,000 CO-OP Shared Branches nationwide for easy access to your money wherever you go.

    16. Visa Platinum Cash Back card with 1% cash back on everything you buy.

    17. Visa Platinum Merchandise Rewards

    18. A full-service mortgage lending department and your mortgage stays with Listerhill for the life of the loan.

    19. A full-service financial planning department that gives you personalized, local service.

    20. Access to financial wellness education courses and information.

  • How does the Maintenance Fee contribute to Listerhill's sustainability?

    In the past, we charged a $10 Relationship Fee to help cover the cost of servicing members' accounts. We felt we could serve you better by removing this fee and establishing a lower fee based on your investment in the cooperative. Encouraging our members to save and borrow with us is key to Listerhill's sustainability, plus it creates value that it ultimately returned back to our member owners (like you!)