If I get pre-approved for a mortgage, that's generally good for 60-90 days, but what if I don't find the right home in that time frame? Another hard-pull on the credit to get pre-approved for continued pre-approved-status searching? Or will sellers potentially take the expired pre-approval (and assurance, which only goes so far, that nothing's changed for you financially) as evidence of your ability to finance the stated amount? I assume the latter is better than not being pre-approved at all, but obviously not better than having a current pre-approval... But I also don't like the aspect of getting rushed near the end of that timeframe if I don't find something I love just to keep from getting approved again and again...
What if you get pre-approved for a mortgage but don't find a house in the pre-approval timeframe?
1Not going to answer because I don't know definitively, but I'm pretty sure that it will make no impact at all unless you did it 10 times in a row or something. Then I'm less sure, but still think it won't matter.– JohnFx ♦Apr 17, 2012 at 2:32
As mentioned before - you're over-thinking the hard-pull issue. But do try to make the preapproval as close to the actual bidding as possible - because it costs money. At least from my experience, you'll get charged the application fee for preapproval, while "pre-qualification" is usually free.
If you're seriously shopping, I find it hard to believe that you can't find a house within 3 months. If you're already in the process and your offer has been accepted and you opened the escrow - I believe the preapproval will be extended if it expires before closing. I've just had a similar case from the other side, as a buyer, and the seller had a short-sale approval that expired before closing. It was extended to make the deal happen, and that's when the bank is actually loosing money. So don't worry about that.
If you haven't even started the process and the preapproval expired, you might have to start it all over again from scratch, including all the fees. The credit score is a minor issue (unless you do it every 2-3 months).
1:It is not a matter of finding a house, it is also a matter of finding it at the right price. It took us 9 months to find the right place and we were seriously looking. People think their homes are worth more than they are so they overprice themselves. Whereas, the banks will not accept reasonable short-sale offers. They would rather the houses become dilapidated instead. We could have overpaid and been underwater by now, but we put in offers on 4 different places at the prices we were comfortable at. Because we were patient we got an awesome house at an awesome price.– DunkApr 17, 2012 at 20:01
1@Dunk - well, you have to take your chances, you can't have the cake and eat it too. You want a pre-approval - it will expire within 60 days. You want to look for 9 months? You'll have to accommodate for a longer closing and approval. If your bank is willing to keep the preapproval unexpired for 9 months - then you're very lucky. Apr 17, 2012 at 22:09