As technology continues to advance, I’m seeing more and more ads for quick mortgage approvals. Sometimes in as little as 60 seconds. 

But how accurate is a pre-approval if it can be done in 60 seconds?

If something sounds too good to be true, then it probably is.  And mortgage approvals are no different.  The quick mortgage pre-approval will only give you a rough idea of how much you might qualify for.  In many cases, the number could be off, and can be significantly lower or higher than what you may actually qualify for.   

You can even do this quite easily yourself… no computers or internet needed!  Just take your gross income, multiply it by 4.5, and voila!  You have an approximate mortgage amount.  This is VERY rough and I’m mentioning this to demonstrate how useless the automated pre-approval system can be. You’re definitely not going to want to go home shopping based on this figure. There is a lot more to it!

The mortgage pre-approval process can be complicated.  Entering in a token amount of information into an automated system is not a substitute for going through the pre-approval process. 

Purchasing a home is a huge investment, so it’s important that you don’t cut corners. There is too much at stake! 



One of the biggest mistakes that can be made is assuming that you will qualify for a mortgage.  I see time and time again, people putting in condition free offers to purchase property, before they have even spoken to a mortgage professional about their options.  This can end up in disaster, and it often does. 

There is too much that can go wrong here.   In some cases, these people do not even come remotely close to qualifying.

It doesn’t matter if you have $200 in the bank or $2 million.  You still need to qualify for a mortgage based on income and credit.  I’ll often hear people say… “But I have enough money to buy this home outright!  What do you mean I don’t qualify?”   Definitely a logical thought.  However, the mortgage industry often defies logic, so ensure you don’t want to make assumptions.  From a mortgage lenders perspective, that $2 million you have sitting in the bank account could be gone with one trip to Las Vegas. 

While there used to be net worth programs that allowed you to qualify for a mortgage providing that you had at least 35% down payment, these programs are now few and far between.   



I’ll often hear people say, “But I’ve never missed a mortgage payment and I have excellent credit! Why would they not approve me for what I need?”   

Paying your bills on time does not make you special. It’s what you are supposed to do, and what you are expected to do.  It’s also a necessity if you want to qualify for a decent mortgage rate.  Having a history of paying your bills on time does not earn you any special privileges.  It’s a minimum requirement which makes you eligible for a mortgage in the first place.



When applying for a mortgage, always reach out to a mortgage professional to get a good idea of what you’ll qualify for.  Even then, it’s always best to include a finance condition in your offer, which gives your bank or broker time to get your mortgage approved.  Never assume you will qualify!  Sometimes there can be surprises on your credit bureau that you may not be aware of, or sometimes the income you think you earn might be higher than what can be used for mortgage qualification.  Always reach out to a professional in advance to get a good idea of what you can expect when you put an offer in on your next home. 

Paul Meredith is the author of the Amazon #1 best selling book, Beat the Bank – How to Win The Mortgage Game in Canada, and has ranked as one of the top 75 mortgage brokers in Canada since 2016. He was a finalist for Mortgage Broker of the Year in 2018, and can be seen as the exclusive mortgage broker on season two of TV’s Top Million Dollar Agent.