PRE APPROVAL vs.
Be sure to get a clear indication of the down payment percentage required by your lender. You will also want to know what kind of documentation your lender requires to verify that you have funds for the down payment.
Pre-approved buyers are ahead in the home buying game. If you make an offer on a home and then apply for a loan instead of the other way around, you are at the mercy of the lender who now knows that you don't have time to shop around.
A pre-approval letter from a lender will also give you an edge when multiple offers have been made on a house. Pre-approved buyers generally close escrow more quickly, since most of the paperwork has already been taken care of.
Pre-Qualification is only a loan agent's opinion that you'll be able to obtain financing. No verifications are made, so formal approval is not issued.
Pre-Approval means your loan application has been taken through a rigorous procedure, including a review of your credit report. Pre-approval saves you the time of looking at houses you can't afford.
Chapter 3 Page 8