When you are pre-qualified for a loan it means that you could potentially get a loan for the amount stated for you. This assumes that all of the information that you provided to the lender is correct. When you are pre-approved, this means that you have had an extensive financial background check, which will include looking at credit history, tax returns, and employment verification. This is when the lender is willing to give you a loan, which is almost approved. Most sellers prefer that buyers are pre-approved as they know there will not be problems with the purchase of the home.