What is involved in getting pre-approved for a home loan?

My husband and I want to buy our first house. We're looking to buy a cheap starter home and work on it ourselves. We'd like to have payments around what we pay for our apartment now. With 6.5% interest, we'd achieve that with the ones in our "price range". How do you get pre-approved for a... show more My husband and I want to buy our first house. We're looking to buy a cheap starter home and work on it ourselves. We'd like to have payments around what we pay for our apartment now. With 6.5% interest, we'd achieve that with the ones in our "price range".

How do you get pre-approved for a home loan? Do they run your credit? Meaning you'd have 30 days to buy a house or it would wreck your score? Or do they look at your W2's and a recent paycheck stub? We're new to this. So any advice/info would be much appreciated.
Update: Since that is considered a "hard hit", how much would it drop my credit score? And should they run both of ours? Or just my husband's?
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