What are the differences between mortgage prequalification, preapproval and final loan approval?

By: 
Kathleen C. Aiken

Prequalification is the process where the lender will look at a basic copy of your credit report and use the information you supply to determine how much mortgage you can afford based on your income. No accounts or employment information is verified. Preapproval occurs when all credit and employment is verified and the mortgage is approved, subject to the appraisal of the property you have chosen to buy. Final loan approval occurs when the property has been appraised, all documentation is in the hands of the lender and all contingencies have been met.

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