I am SO confused about getting pre-qualified/pre-approved and buying a house?

I'm having trouble because some people say you can, and others say no you can't. Then someone else says you can, and someone else says you can't. I know the best thing to do is talk to a realtor - but you have to find a decent one. I know they also don't like answering "advice" questions... show more I'm having trouble because some people say you can, and others say no you can't. Then someone else says you can, and someone else says you can't. I know the best thing to do is talk to a realtor - but you have to find a decent one. I know they also don't like answering "advice" questions if they think you aren't even interested if they give you the answer you don't want to hear, and therefore wouldn't make them any money by helping you.
Update: ....while having an existing mortgage on a house that needs repairs and may not sell for enough to cover the existing mortgage. According to some, my income isn't enough to juggle two mortgages, and I may be denied for the second mortgage because of that. Other family lives here and our household income is... show more ....while having an existing mortgage on a house that needs repairs and may not sell for enough to cover the existing mortgage.

According to some, my income isn't enough to juggle two mortgages, and I may be denied for the second mortgage because of that. Other family lives here and our household income is more than double of what I can actually list on a new mortgage application.

My job has a credit union that does mortgages with places like Wells Fargo and one or two other companies. They also have a program that covers the closing costs if you have the paperwork ready to go.

But I'm freaking totally confused about what "pre-qualified" and "pre-approved" actually means. Is this something I can "shop around for" and see which company pre-qualifies and pre-approves me for the best rate/loan? Or is it a one-time thing that chips away at my credit score with each place I get pre-qualified and pre-approved at?

Which is better to get a loan through - a bank or a mortgage company?

Also, i've looked around on here and I can't seem to find a straight answer.

We would need an FHA loan for the new place. I know that's about 3% down plus whatever closing costs. Can you or can you not juggle two mortgages at the same time, if you have a great credit history, a myFICO of 719, but an income in the lower 20k's a year? Will they allow it or not?
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