No. of Recommendations: 0
How are the up front fees for pre-approval?

There are no fees to the prospective borrower (home buyer).

We are never even sure what state we will be buying in, or what time frame, so it makes little sense for us to pursue it,

A pre-approval is not state specific, important as in the DC area someone may buy in DC, MD, or VA. But a pre-approval is time specific,
and best serves homebuyers actively looking and expecting to submit an offer within 60 days.

I am also not sure it gives you much extra time. 21 days vs 30?

It may be important to a home seller, and all else being equal they will select the contract for the home buyer pre-approved and able to close quickly. Also a pre-approval letter is much stronger than a pre-qual letter, the home buyer's documentation has been reviewed by an underwriter.

Amerisave assured us they could do a purchase loan in 30 days, particularly since they have many of our docs on file from our refi.

LLOL. Docs on file, from a refi, will save time on your next purchase loan? Sounds like a marketing ploy. Perhaps tax returns will not expire, but certainly paystubs and asset statements have expired. A new loan is a new loan, collecting new docs. An active, prepared, well qualified home buyer in the DC marketplace now has a pre-approval letter.
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