Mortgage pre-approval checklist
The world of mortgages can be a hectic experience, even for a seasoned homebuyer. One of the most prudent ways to walk through a satisfying home-buying experience is by choosing to have a mortgage professional pre-approve you as a homebuyer before you begin to shop for your perfect home –your dream home. This pre-approval strategy is especially crucial for the first time homebuyer who might need or be interested in either a federal loan program (perhaps from the FHA or the VA) or, help from one of the other assistance programs available to new homeowners.
The mortgage pre-approval process is relatively easy as it calculates how much you can afford to buy while taking into consideration your creditworthiness, down payment, and work history. A pre-approval can often be the difference between a seller accepting one-given the same offer.
The most important part of the pre-approval process is providing enough information for a lender to make a qualified, well-informed decision credit decision based on the information you provided. You will typically need to provide basic information about yourself and your Social Security number to run your credit. You’ll usually also need to provide a few documents as proof of income and any assets you have.
Here’s a simple checklist of some of the documents and information you may need to provide. Having them ready when you talk to a lender can make the pre-approval process go more smoothly.
Basic income and asset documentation generally includes:
- Income documentation (W-2, 1099) for the past two years
- Federal tax returns for the past two years if you’re self-employed, have rental property, or have unreimbursed business expenses
- Recent pay stubs or proof of direct deposit for Social Security or retirement income
- Statements from any financial institution accounts (bank or investment) for the past two months; include all pages, even if they’re blank
Other information that may be needed for unique situations:
- If you own other real estate: addresses of any real estate you own and mortgage lender information
- If you’re a veteran or active military: your DD Form 214 and VA Certificate of Eligibility
- If you’re starting a new job: your offer letter
- If you’re self-employed: a current profit-and-loss statement showing year-to-date revenue and expenses
- If you’ve filed for bankruptcy: a bankruptcy discharge and schedule of creditors
- If you’re using child support, alimony, or separate maintenance income to qualify: child support, alimony, or separate maintenance income documents
- If you’re divorced or separated: a divorce decree or separation agreement