While it's essential for you to calculate your budget on your own (use our online calculators!), lenders will need to do an accurate analysis. Doing this will help you determine your actual budget and know your house-affordability ceiling.
Many sellers these days won't entertain offers from prospective buyers who have not been pre-approved, so save yourself a headache and get pre-approved before you start looking!
The mortgage process can get lengthy as underwriters sometimes need additional to verify your finances. When you get pre-approved, however, most of that legwork is done upfront, meaning that when you find the right home to buy, you'll be in a position to move quickly to the sale of the property.