Getting pre-approved/pre-qualified for a home loan is an inevitable reality check and discovery process ALL (non-cash) buyers must go through. It lets you know what you can afford, current interest rates, terms, your monthly payment, down payment and estimated closing cost. Without this information, you cannot make a wise real estate investment. Smart investors plan. You are about to make two purchases, a home and a home loan. Familarizing yourself with different home loan products will ensure when the perfect house comes along you can quickly move forward with the appropriate loan in place. Getting pre-approved for a home loan sets the rules of the engagement and gives your Realtor insight into what homes will qualify for the loan that you have selected and how to negotiate your contract.
You may know you'll be approved, but this too can be a dangerous assumption. Not all home loan products (mortgages) are created equal. After reviewing your options there is a good chance you will learn about home loan products available that will better suit your financial needs and or you might need to adjust your expectations.
My advice is stay ahead of the game and align yourself for the best outcome; get pre-approved before you begin any home search. Let sellers and Realtors know you aren't just a tire kicker. Show up with a home loan pre-approval and I promise you will be taken a lot more seriously.