How the heck do personal loans work?

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I feel so ignorant, but can someone explain this process to me?

Is applying sort of like a condensed version of a mortgage process (tax, income verification, etc?) and then do you get something saying you are pre-qualified or pre-approved? I don't get the process really at all right now and I'm also wondering what you do to make an offer on a property when using a personal loan to finance? Do you go through and get the money and do a POF and if it's not accepted just hold it (and pay interest??) or what? I'd rather not "get it" until I knew it was accepted and had to, but I feel like offering a statement versus it being "cash" would make my offer look weaker. Thoughts/opinions on this personal loan thing and offers?

If you are using a personal loan, are you essentially trying to look like a "cash buyer"? If so,  you would have to take the loan out before you make an offer. In order for a seller to take you seriously, they will probably want proof of funds, which would require you to have the money in the bank already.