Pre-Qualified? No Guarantee You Will Close

Almost sounds like we're talking about health insurance. Remember the phrase "verification of benefits is no guarantee of health coverage?" Well, now mortgage companies appear to have taken a cue from insurers, saying mortgage pre-qualification is no guarantee of getting a loan and closing on your home.

Yet countless real estate agents in this credit-crunched economy still advise clients to get pre-approved before they even start to look for a home.

That was the exact advice that the Rumph family of Austin, Texas, followed. Moving to the Lone Star State from Alaska, they found a darling 1,200-square-foot stone home in Leander, a fast-growing suburb north of Austin. And they were hoping to close by the end of April to take advantage of the government's tax credit.

All systems were go until five days before closing, when the loan underwriters said "no deal" because of Brendan's temporary employment.