Although a preapproval letter is not necessarily required to look at houses it is a good idea to obtain a preapproval letter and speak to your financial institution prior to viewing.  A preapproval letter verifies that you and your lender are on the same page and that you have opened lines of communication with your lender to ensure you aren’t viewing homes that fall out of your price range.  

A preapproval letter is also typically required when your agent submits an offer on your new home.  Obtaining a preapproval letter also demonstrates to your agent that you are a serious potential buyer and have taken the necessary steps to obtain lending.