Whether you are buying a home or refinancing your current mortgage, you eventually have to apply for a loan and compare offers. You will need to gather a lot of personal financial paperwork, satisfy a list of credit requirements, negotiate the best possible loan terms, and make sense of the official loan estimates.
You will be asked to supply a lot of paperwork when you apply. Then you'll get some paperwork in return. Of the documents you receive, the most important is the loan estimate.
Before we dive into a detailed explanation of the estimates in another section, we will tell you about the difference between prequalification and preapproval; the typical questions that lenders will ask; and the questions that you should ask lenders. Near the end of this section we will describe what you will find in the loan estimate. That won't be the final word, though. Estimates contain several categories of fees, and it will take this and the following two chapters to explain them all.