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When Does a Pre-Approval Expire? Time Is Just One Factor

When does a mortgage pre-approval expire

Mortgage pre-approvals are typically good for 90 days.

Credit reports are valid for 120 days. So a 90-day pre-approval expiration leaves 30 days to close the loan after you find a house.

But time isn’t the only factor that can negate your pre-approval. Financial events can also cause your pre-approval to expire, so to speak.

Here are events that can derail your approval and how to make sure they don’t happen.

Events That Negate Your Pre-Approval Before 90 Days

Time isn’t the only thing that can negate your pre-approval.

Any major financial change – and even changes in the market – can also render your approval invalid.

  • Your got a job in a new line of work

  • Your spouse lost his job

  • You had to spend some of your savings

  • You took on new debt

  • A medical collection appeared on your credit report

  • Interest rates rose too much

These and other events can change your profile enough to require a new approval. Notify your lender right away if anything to do with your income, employment, assets, or credit changed during the home search.

Why Is Pre-Approval Timing Based On The Credit Report?

The lender sets a 90-day clock on your pre-approval because it wants to avoid pulling a new credit report right before closing. Unlike with most other documents, your file must be run through underwriting when the credit report expires. This causes delays and jeopardizes your approval.

For example, your new credit report reveals a medical collection. Your score is 20 points lower. You could recover from this 30 days before closing, but perhaps not a week before.

A 90-day pre-approval expiration is quite generous: it gives the lender 30 days to close the loan before new items pop up on your credit.

Do Other Documents Expire?

Other documents in your loan file expire before the credit report.

There is some variation by lender, but here’s how old documents can be at closing of the loan:

  • Credit report: 120 days

  • Bank statements: 90 days

  • Pay stubs: 30-60 days

  • Tax returns: The lender may require the most recent year’s returns after April 15. For example, 2023 returns after April 15, 2024

  • W-2s: New W-2 required after mid-January each year

  • Appraisal: 120 days

No matter how old the documents you turned in for the pre-approval, expect to submit new ones when you find a home. The lender will proactively refresh the file so there are no problems near closing.

Find a lender and request a pre-approval here.

How To Refresh Your Pre-Approval

Refreshing your pre-approval is much easier than getting it initially. This is why it’s a good idea to get pre-approved earlier than you need to.

If you’re within your 90-day timeframe, you can make an offer on a house based on your current pre-approval.

Reach out to the lender if you’re past the 90-day mark. Have them pull a new credit report and ask what other documentation you need for a new pre-approval letter. Submit your paperwork and receive your updated pre-approval, good for another 90 days.

Should The Lender Automatically Refresh Your Pre-Approval Every 90 days?

It sounds nice: you always have a valid pre-approval in case the perfect house comes on the market.

But it could hurt your credit to have a new hard inquiry every three months. The lender should pull new credit only when you let them know you’re about to make an offer.

If that offer is not accepted, you’ll hopefully find another home before your refreshed pre-approval expires.

Related Reading:

What If I Can’t Get Pre-Approved Again?

A lot can happen in 90 days. Your credit can change or you can experience a financial event.

First, don’t make an offer on a home. You could lose your earnest money if you can’t close.

Review this article. It details how to check with various lenders for programs that could help you overcome the issue. There are many options in the mortgage marketplace. Not all lenders know about or have access to all programs.

If you still can’t be pre-approved, you’ll have to wait until the issue is resolved to shop for homes again. It’s not the end of the world. Just a small detour on your homebuying journey.

Continue to rent, save money, and work on your credit score, income level, and savings. It might not take long to earn your mortgage eligibility back.

Check your mortgage eligibility with a lender here.

Don’t Fear Pre-Approval Expiration

It’s better to have an expired pre-approval than none at all. Don’t fear getting one too early in your search. It’s easy for most buyers to refresh a pre-approval.

Get started on your home search by requesting a pre-approval here.

About The Author:

Tim Lucas spent 11 years in the mortgage industry and now leverages that real-world knowledge to give consumers reliable, actionable advice. Tim has been featured in national publications such as Time, U.S. News, MSN, The Mortgage Reports, and more.

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