After buyers make a written offer on a home, they usually have about two weeks to show proof of financial approval from a lender. If they can’t provide proof, the seller can walk away from the deal and start showing the house again. Getting preapproved helps ensure financing will be forthcoming, but it’s not unheard of for a bank to turn a buyer down at the last minute if, for instance, he loses his job. Additionally, if a buyer purchases an expensive item, such as a car, after having been preapproved, her monthly income-to-debt ratio could change, disqualifying her for a mortgage.

Related: 10 Real Estate Negotiation Tactics That Can Really Backfire

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