What is a pre-approval and how do I get one?

A pre-approved mortgage provides an interest rate guarantee from a lender for a set amount of money and for a specified period, which usually ranges from 90 to 120 days. The pre-approval is calculated based on information provided by you and is subject to certain conditions being met before the mortgage is finalized. Conditions typically include things like written employment and income confirmation and proof of down payment from your own resources, for example. Securing a pre-approved mortgage is one of the first steps a home buyer should take before beginning the buying process.