There’s a lot to be said for having your home loan pre-approved. But does pre-approval mean you’re putting the cart before the horse? Definitely not. Here are three ways pre-approval can help you get ahead of the competition.

You don’t have to wait until you’ve found a home you’d like to buy before making mortgage enquiries with a lender, or better still – a lending specialist.

It’s possible to have a home loan pre-approved before you’ve even started to wear out shoe leather at open home inspections.

It can mean you’re ready to go with your loan, with only a few formalities to sort out as soon as you’ve found the right place.

Even better, pre-approval doesn’t mean you’re committed to taking out a loan. It’s not a problem if you have a change of plans.

Here are three ways home loan pre-approval can put you in front in today’s market.

1. Pre-approval gives you a budget to stick to

When it comes to a major step like buying a home, there’s no room for guesswork.

With a pre-approved home loan, you know exactly how much you can borrow, and that’s the foundation for your home-buying budget.

It means you can focus on homes within your price range and make an offer with confidence.

Pre-approval is especially important if you plan to bid at auction. It sets a clear line in the sand for your highest bid.

2. You can act fast

In today’s market, homes are selling in turbo-charged timeframes.

Figures from CoreLogic show the median selling time across our capital cities is just 27 days. That’s less than a month!

So you need to act fast to avoid missing out. Sellers might not wait around while you head to the bank to see if you qualify for a home loan.

Having pre-approval in place means you can get the ball rolling as soon as you find the right home, without getting pipped by a more organised buyer.

3. Pre-approval can show you’re a serious buyer

Nothing says ‘genuine buyer’ like home loan pre-approval.

Don’t be shy about letting real estate agents know your loan is pre-approved. It adds clout to your negotiations and gives vendors confidence that you have the finance to follow up any offer you make.

Just consider keeping some information up your sleeve, such as how much you’ve been pre-approved for.

After all, the real estate agent’s goal is to get the best price for the vendor, not the buyer!

How reliable is pre-approval?

Home loan pre-approval is not a guarantee that you’ll get a home loan.

You won’t get the green light for sure until you’ve found a place to buy, and the bank has checked that the property meets their lending criteria.

Your lender will also want to see that your personal finances haven’t changed since your loan was pre-approved. This is why working with an independent lending specialist is crucial. They can assess your current position, and if circumstances have changed, can guide you on a different approach if need be.

It’s also worth keeping in mind that while there aren’t many downsides to obtaining a single pre-approval, getting too many over a short period of time with multiple lenders can potentially negatively impact your credit score and ability to take out a loan – as lenders might suspect you’re financially unstable.

Which pre-approval is better?

Home buyers are often surprised to learn that pre-approval isn’t available with every lender.

Even among banks that do offer this service, not all pre-approvals work the same. One sort is especially worth aiming for.

You may come across two types of pre-approvals:


  1. System-generated pre-approvals

This sort of pre-approval is generated by a lender’s computer based on the information you enter about yourself.

You can get a result quickly this way. The catch is that the analysis isn’t thorough, making the outcome unreliable.

If any of the details you enter are incorrect, the bank’s IT system may wrongly say you don’t qualify for a home loan.

You should be wary of a bank or lender who only issues a system-generated pre-approval.


  1. Fully assessed pre-approvals

As the name suggests, this type of pre-approval involves your bank’s credit team taking a close look at your finances, credit score and other personal and financial details to be sure you can comfortably manage a home loan.

A full assessment takes more time, but it’s worth the wait. It can help you feel more confident that you’ll be offered a home loan when you find your ideal property.

Want to find out more about pre-approval?

If you’re looking to buy a home and want to get an edge over the competition (to put in an early offer, for example), then pre-approval might be a much needed ace up your sleeve.

We’re here to help

Shopping around for a home loan by sending in multiple loan applications can negatively impact your credit rating?

Speaking to lending specialists like our team can help you avoid these common pitfalls, and others.

We’ll help you find the right loan for the right home.

Our lending specialists offer free advice and are available online, via phone, or in person.

Check out our Home Buying guide!

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This article is prepared based on general information. It does not take into account individual financial objectives or needs and is not financial product advice.