Once you have decided to start the house hunting seriously, you are in principle asking for a mortgage. Apart from its practical applications, it will help you focus on and engage in your task. Knowing what you can afford, even in theory, gives a huge boost to trust. A mortgage can normally last between 60 and 90 days, depending on the lender. If you have not found a property or accepted an offer during this period, you may need to receive another one. Renewal should be easy, unless your circumstances (or economy) have changed significantly. Make sure you get advice on products and lenders before pursuing an agreement in principle, as you can leave a soft or hard footprint in your credit file. If you are considering how much money to borrow, the mortgage lender should check your credit history to make sure you would be able to meet the monthly payments. At this point, you can easily provide the information without proof. But you will need this when you apply for a full mortgage. Some lenders will give you a certificate if they offer in principle a mortgage that can be useful to show real estate agents. What this entails differs depending on the lender, but could be a) an explanation that they are willing to lend the amount requested for b) the maximum amount they may be willing to lend, or c) simply a statement that your mortgage was accepted in principle. Once you have your agreement in principle, you can see real estate within your specific price range; that is, the amount you could possibly borrow, plus each deposit you may have saved.
A decision in principle is not a guarantee. If you go through the full application process, the lender will take a closer look at your income and credit history. You can choose not to give yourself credits at this point. Use our mortgage calculator to find out how much you could borrow, how much it could cost a month and what your credit-to-value ratio would be. If you have an agreement in principle and decide to make a full application with that lender, you must provide more detailed personal data. The lender is not required to lend you the full amount indicated in the AIP. Realtors will often want to make sure that you will be able to get a mortgage on a property before making an offer, so it may be helpful to have an agreement until that date.