The very first thing you must do before even looking at a property to buy, you must obtain a mortgage certificate, otherwise known as a mortgage promise or an agreement in principle. This is a document from a lender showing how much they will be willing to pay you. These statements only last for a short period of time, usually 3 months, so make you know how long yours lasts for.
It has many advantages being that it demonstrates to the seller that you are a serious and determined buyer, and that you have enough money behind you to purchase the property. It will also speed up the mortgage process later on when you make a formal application because it will already have some of your information on record. You must remember that a mortgage certificate is not a guarantee that the lender will actually give you the money for the property you want to buy. It depends on details such exact details of the property, the outcome of credit checks and the correctness of information you supplied about yourself.
In order to get a mortgage certificate you will need to complete a form, giving details of your income and financial commitments, and your employment records. At this stage it is likely the lender will run credit checks on you, and might even ask your employer for references. The lender will then use this information to calculate how much they are willing to lend you. If you intend to keep your options open, there is no reason why you can’t obtain a mortgage certificate from more than one lender. However, if you feel problems with a lender agreeing to the amount you want to borrow, then there is no point in doing this, also, if each lender you go to carries out a credit check, it could harm your credit rating.