The following (first of) two questions address preapprovals. For the purposes of these questions, a preapproval is a document issued by a lender stating that a consumer qualifies for a specific loan amount. A preapproval is intended to assist a consumer who is shopping for a house by enabling the consumer to enter into a purchase contract that does not contain a financing contingency. A preapproval is never to be used as a substitute for a GFE. If an applicant has chosen a property to purchase and the loan originator is willing to qualify the applicant for a specific loan amount, then a loan originator should issue the applicant a GFE that facilitates shopping for a loan, not just a preapproval used to shop for a property. For example, a lender may never issue only a preapproval to an applicant seeking to refinance his or her loan; the lender must also issue a GFE.
Q: Can a loan originator provide a GFE without a property address?
A: Yes, a loan originator can determine that a property address is not one of the required pieces of information that the loan originator needs in order to issue a GFE. It is important to note that a loan originator must consistently apply its policy on the information it deems necessary to issue a GFE, and the RESPA rule requires a loan originator to issue a GFE whenever it receives information sufficient to complete an application for a GFE. As a result, if a loan originator received an application for a preapproval and that application included all of the pieces of information that the loan originator requires to issue a GFE, the loan originator must issue a GFE and all of the rules that govern the GFE process would apply. In addition, if a GFE is issued without a property address, the future receipt of the property address is not a changed circumstance that would allow the loan originator to issue a revised GFE.
This can be found in GFE-General – FAQ #33 of HUD’s FAQs. HUD’s FAQs can be found at http://www.hud.gov/offices/hsg/rmra/res/respa_hm.cfm