Question: I want to start looking for a home, but several people suggested agents won't take me seriously without a pre-approval letter. I understand the pre-approval must be updated every 30 days, and a credit check hurts my credit score. How do I avoid being punished for planning ahead and beginning my search far in advance of the target move date?
Answer: A pre-approval from a mortgage lender has gained more importance in real estate transactions than ever before. There are many reasons that reward you, not punish you, for making the effort toward mortgage loan pre-approval.
It is a wise move to start your search early. You do not have to update your pre-approval status if your circumstances to not change, and the effects of a lender verifying your status while you shop for a mortgage will have little impact on your credit score.
A formal loan application for a loan on the property you ultimately chose, subject to financing, is the only other time you will have to circle back....