In 2005 we had a joke in the mortgage industry that the only qualification a borrower needed was the ability to fog a mirror.  It was basically true.  As true as that was 8 years ago, the opposite is true today.  No matter how qualified you think you are, our underwriters will find something in your file that will present a challenge.  It could be issues with your assets, maybe you have a side business that loses money each year, maybe you are a victim of tax fraud and cannot close on your loan because of it (note: we have had several clients who were completely unaware that they were victims of tax fraud until we alerted them).  There are 1,000 additional examples that we could go through, but the bottom line is that as soon as you determine that you want to purchase a home, get your pre-approval started.  It will save you some pain and perhaps your earnest money in the long run!