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I am not going to agree to 90 days.

Certainly your choice. I will be curious to hear how that is received.

The D.C. marketplace is now a seller's market with listed homes receiving multiple bids and selling price above list is fairly common. The R.E. agents I work will request a 90 day listing, which includes a written agreement that the relationship may be cancelled with 24 hours notice. Essentially agents are agreeing to take on a listing with no commitment from the seller.

"Pre-approved" mortgages are not common out here at all. Pre-qualified, yes,

You're correct, there is a large difference between pre-qualified and pre-approved. Pre-qualified was common up until about a year ago. That essentially was pulling a credit report, reviewing income and assets and issuing a letter. Many buyers now want to be pre-approved so their purchase offers provide the opportunity to close within 21 days.

To be a pre-approved buyer, a loan application is submitted to underwriting under a likely scenario. Say, a $500,000. purchase with 10% down and a loan amount of $450,000. All documentation from the buyer is submitted and reviewed by underwriting, and if approved a Commitment Letter is issued listing any outstanding conditions. Those conditions are generally property specific, appraisal, title work, etc. A pre-approved buyer has a competitive edge over a pre-qualified buyer, and we are able to close loans within 21 days of contract ratification.
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