How long is a pre-approval letter good for?

Getting a pre-approval letter is the crucial first step to house hunting. You can’t make an offer on a home without one.

But once you’ve gone through the process, how long does pre-approval for a mortgage last?

That depends on the lender. Some mortgage companies will honor a pre-approval letter for up to 90 days. Some, as few as 30.

But remember — getting pre-approved doesn’t bind you to a lender. You’re still free to shop around for the lowest rates before you buy.

You’re safe to get pre-approved as soon as you want to start house hunting, without feeling like you’ll be tied into financing too early.

Why mortgage pre-approval doesn’t last forever

No lender will give an open-ended commitment to finance your home. That’s because your circumstances might change. And it can’t have you collecting a loan months or years later on the strength of an old pre-approval letter.

In that time, your credit might have risen or fallen. Your income might have changed. And your qualified budget could be much bigger or smaller than it was when you first got pre-approved.

So what’s the answer to “How long is a preapproval good for?” Well, some lenders will honor their commitment for 90 days. And others only for 30, 45 or 60 days.

In other words, it’s up to each lender to decide on the shelf life of its pre-approval letters. So ask the ones on your shortlist what their policies are.