With home prices increasing and inventory shrinking, homebuyers in the United States need every advantage available. Here are some documents you may need to gather before you meet with a lender to start the process of securing your new mortgage.
Having these documents on hand will give you a leg up on your mortgage journey. While this extensive list covers a lot of bases, other types of documentation may also be asked for depending on the type of loan you are seeking, the kind of home you are purchasing, your qualifications, etc.
Your lender will want to verify your identity. Government-issued IDs are required. State-issued driver’s licenses and ID cards, passports, and permanent-resident alien registration cards are all acceptable forms of identification.
Pull those W-2s out of the filing cabinet. Your lender may want to see your two most recent forms for the last two complete years from current and past employers within that time frame to verify your income and taxes. If you don’t have a copy handy, check with your tax-preparation software or accountant.
Your lender likely will ask for checking and savings account statements for each bank you use for the last two months. These documents verify your liquid assets and show potential down-payment funds for a purchase or reserves for a refinance. These statements also will show any evidence of bounced checks, insufficient funds, unstable income, payments to another account, and large deposits from unknown sources that may need to be verified.
Your most recent paystubs that account for the last 30 days can verify your monthly income and employment. If you receive physical checks, save the paystub to copy and send to the lender. If you are paid through direct deposit, ask your employer how you can receive digital copies of your paystubs.
If you turned that side hustle into a full-time gig and own a business, you may need to provide your full tax returns and business returns for the past two full years, depending on your lender’s requirements. You also may need to show your year-to-date Profit and Loss statement, along with your most recent three months’ business bank statements.
Yes, lenders will want to get your number—your credit score, that is. They’ll pull a credit report (with your authorization) to verify your qualifications, so it’s a good idea to review your credit report before they do so you have an idea of what your scores might be. You can check your credit report for free at AnnualCreditReport.com.
If you’ve got a special someone willing to gift you some money to use toward a down payment on a purchase transaction, your lender will want documentation of that generosity. There are different rules regarding who can give you money and how they can do it, so check with your lender regarding which apply to you and the mortgage you’re seeking.
In general, a lender will be looking for a gift letter that includes the gift-giver’s name, contact information, relation to the recipient, the amount and date of the gift, the recipient’s name and contact information, how the recipient will be using the gift money, and from which account the funds will be drawn. Make sure that both the gift-giver and the recipient sign the letter and be clear that the gift is not a loan and does not need to be repaid. Repayable funds could contribute negatively to your DTI (debt-to-income ratio), which potentially could make your loan terms less favorable.
Investment Account Statements
If you plan to use your income-generating investments to qualify for a loan (think stocks, bonds and mutual funds in a taxable brokerage account, or even tax-deferred investments such as a 401(k) or IRA), your lender will need to review your account statements. Prepare to gather this documentation early on to help the process go more smoothly.
List of Monthly Debts
How much money you make versus how much you spend — or your debt-to-income ratio (DTI) — helps lenders decide how much mortgage you can afford. To determine your DTI, your lender will pull your credit report to see all the debt that shows up under your name, including the monthly payment, current balance, and payment history. They also will ask if you have any additional debt requiring a monthly payment that doesn’t reflect on your credit report, such as homeowners association (HOA) dues, property taxes and homeowners insurance. But don’t worry about keeping those long CVS receipts—your lender won’t ask for information about variable expenses such as entertainment, groceries, transportation, and utilities.
Mortgage Statements For Your Current Home
If you already own a home with a mortgage and are applying for a second loan to buy another property, you’ll need to provide recent mortgage statements for your current home that can be matched up with what reflects on your credit report.
Certificate of Eligibility
Veterans, active-duty military, discharged members, and surviving spouses applying for a VA loan will need to sign this form to confirm eligibility for a VA loan.
If you’re applying for a VA loan and are not active military, you’ll need verification of your military discharge, retirement, or separation. Surviving spouses must provide their spouse’s Form DD214, along with their marriage license and spouse’s death certificate.
Statement of Service
Active-duty service members or current National Guard or Reserve members need a statement of service to prove active military status for a VA Loan. Make sure it’s printed on official military letterhead and includes the service member’s full name, date of birth, Social Security number, entry date of duty, and time lost. It may also include credible years of service, date of activation, orders activated, training status, and the name of the commander providing this information.
APR = Annual Percentage Rate. APR is the cost to borrow money expressed as a yearly percentage. For mortgage loans, excluding home equity lines of credit, it includes the interest rate plus other charges or fees.
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