One of the biggest potential headaches when you sell your home yourself is working with a motivated buyer and negotiating a sales price, only to discover weeks or days later that the buyer can't get a mortgage. Lenders are giving mortgages to just anyone these days, and about half of all applications are rejected because applicants can't make a sufficient down payment or don't have a high enough credit score.

So, after wasting valuable time and possibly even saying "no" to offers from other interested parties, you are back at square one. The way to avoid this frustrating setback is to only work with pre-approved buyers when you sell your home yourself. It's the key to maximizing your home sale and saving you time, as well as increases the likelihood of a closed sale.

Aren't pre-qualified buyers good enough?

Nope. There is a huge difference between pre-qualified and pre-approved buyers. It's easy to get a pre-qualification letter. All buyers have to do is:

* Call a lender or mortgage broker
* Answer some basic financial questions
* Wait for the letter to print out their fax machine

That's really it, and getting pre-qualified online is just as simple. Enter some basic information, hit "submit" and voila, a pre-qualification letter is ready for printing.

A pre-approval letter is harder to get because it involves actual verification of the information. Instead of blindly taking a potential buyer's word, a lender asks for documentation, such as the following:

* Mortgage application
* Credit report
* Recent pay stubs
* Tax returns
* Bank statements
* Investment statements

Basically, if someone is pre-qualified, all you really know is that they filled out a form online well enough to get the letter. If a buyer is pre-approved, you know they can actually afford to buy your home and are more likely to get a mortgage.

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