How to Get Pre-Approved for a Mortgage

Prior to diving deep into the house-hunting process, it’s a good idea to secure a pre-approval from a mortgage professional. A pre-approval not only outlines how much you can borrow, but it also outlines the regular mortgage payments you’d have to make on your home after completion. With a basis for affordability, you’ll be able to hone in on the home you can afford quicker, as well as be ready to make a confident offer once you find the home you want.

Here we outline how to get pre-approved for a mortgage before you buy your next home.

Speak to a mortgage professional
Both bank representatives and mortgage brokers can help you in securing a pre-approval. Where banks have access to bank specific products, mortgage brokers have access to numerous lenders. While the interest rate and the related payments might be your primary focus, a mortgage professional will outline other important aspects of a mortgage. Getting a pre-approval is often free, with no obligation.

Look beyond the interest rates
In speaking with a mortgage professional, it’s important to ask about mortgage products including details like prepayment privileges (extending a right to a debt holder to pay all or part of a debt prior to its maturity), and the penalties for early discharge. Though mortgages with the lowest rates seem attractive, they can sometimes be riddled with stringent terms and costly penalties.

How will I be pre-approved?
You’ll need to provide paperwork to verify your income, debts and credit history.  The following is an example of what you’ll likely need to provide.

Confirmation of Income
To confirm the income you earn from your job, you’ll need to provide a few pieces of information. First, you’ll need to provide a letter from your job confirming your position, start date, your guaranteed hours, and your hourly pay or salary amount. Next, a pay-stub is often required and also a T4 reflecting the income you’ve earned in previous years.

Confirmation of a Down Payment Source
Whether you have access to savings or plan to receive a gift from a family member, you’ll need to prove you have a down payment. A gift letter is necessary for those receiving funds from someone else, including proof that the monetary gift has been deposited into your bank account.

Credit Review
With your consent, a review of your credit is necessary. Helping to determine not only the amount a lender is willing to loan you, but also the interest rate you’re offered. A lender will consider your credit score (with a score above 680 being optimal), and your credit report.

Should My Offer Be Subject to Financing?
Even after securing a pre-approval, it’s still advisable to include a ‘subject to financing’ condition as part of your offer. While a lender may review your paperwork prior to securing a pre-approval, the paperwork is reviewed with a higher level of detail once you have an offer in place. Beyond approving you, a lender also wants to ensure (by way of an appraisal), that a property is worth (roughly) the amount you’re looking to pay.

Getting a pre-approval is often your first step in a home buyer’s journey. To get started, connect with a rennie advisor to help refer you to a trusted mortgage professional or contact us at

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