Stephanie Booth has done a great job of educating the buying public on the necessity of establishing your creditworthiness as a home buyer.
In out market, a pre-qualification is needed, at the very minimum, in order for an offer to be taken seriously. Generally pre-approval is not necessary, but would not be a bad idea, because anything can happen when the lender goes through all the paperwork and finds something that may change the loan amount or even the even the ability to qualify for a loan.
For more on the first step needed to be taken before embarking on the home-buying process, read this.
Is a mortgage pre-approval letter necessary to make an offer on a house? The short answer is no. But mortgage pre-approval is a good idea. Here’s why.
Source: Is a Mortgage Pre-Approval Letter Necessary to Make an Offer on a House?