These two terms may seem like they refer to the same action potential borrowers take before securing a mortgage, but they are slightly different. In order to be pre-approved for a home loan, a future buyer needs to be pre-qualified. Pre-qualification occurs when a lender determines a borrower has all of their finances in order and is a worthy person to receive a mortgage. Pre-approval occurs after this period and is a written statement from a lender — the same one. who pre-qualified a borrower or a different one — that says they’re willing to lend that person money for their home purchase.