It can be exciting to explore open houses or wander around the web for properties on the market. You’re probably dreaming of a bedroom with a private bath or a fenced back yard for the kids or dogs.

But don’t get ahead of yourself!


The process to buy a house should start with a prequalification letter.

What’s a Prequalification Letter?

Prequalifying for a mortgage means that we’ve checked your credit report, determined your credit score, and considered the information we’d need to help you to get a loan. We then provide a letter which indicates to homeowners or realtors that you’re ready to buy when you find the right house. Getting prequalified can give you a good idea of how much you can spend on a new home, so you know what price range is a fit for your budget and life goals.

During the prequalification process, your lender will also be able to identify the type of mortgage that will work best for you. This is critical since some loan programs offer features like reduced down payments.

No Two Home Purchases Are Alike

Unfortunately, we often see people assume that when a friend or family member gets certain loan terms with a home of similar price, they’ll receive those same loan terms. But that’s not usually the case. Why?

Interest rates fluctuate, even daily, and credit scores lead to mortgage loan terms that will vary from person to person. Getting a loan prequalification allows you to evaluate your situation. Perhaps you’ll choose to spend some time taking steps that might increase your personal credit score or fix any errors that show up on your credit report.

Apply for a prequalification letter by starting the mortgage application process.”

Bill townsend

Prequalification is NOT Preapproval

Be sure to keep in mind that getting prequalified is not the same thing as getting preapproved for a mortgage. We do not request any documentation for a prequalification, so we're basing this initial decision on the information that you give us.

With a prequalification, you have a general idea of what your home budget should be, so you can begin shopping for homes knowing what you can afford.  And once you find that home, you can rest more assured knowing you have already started the process to secure financing.

If you qualify to borrow more money than you are comfortable spending, then don’t buy a house for the full amount. It’s a good idea to limit your home search to houses priced at an amount you can comfortably afford. Also keep in mind taxes, insurance and, possibly, homeowner association fees will add to the cost of the home.

Contact me or anyone on INB’s mortgage lending team today or start the process of prequalifying for your dream home.

Springfield area lenders:

Deena Smith, NMLS # 662911

Natalie Dodson, NMLS # 574151

Corey Kates, NMLS # 1652367

Bill Townsend, NMLS # 815738

Todd Weir, NMLS # 502389

Peoria, IL & Southwest Wisconsin area Lender:

Stacy Borho Wolak, MBA, NMLS # 689948