Applying for a Mortgage? What you'll need to get started.

Applying for a Mortgage? What you'll need to get started.

Often it can take days, even weeks, to finalize all the necessary paperwork when applying for a mortgage loan, so you'll want to be prepared when it comes time to hand over the proper documentation to your loan officer.

Because preparing to buy a home can be very stressful, the last thing you want to be doing at the last minute is digging through piles of paperwork trying to locate last year's tax forms or your bank statements.

By spending a little time getting organized early in the process, you'll be ready to hit the ground running when it's time to apply for your loan.

One way to get organized is to start a home-buying file. Put papers, sales brochures and other related information in the file, including credit data, loan documents, real estate listings, inspection reports, area maps, and insurance information.

For the initial loan application process, lender Freddie Mac recommends gathering all your pay stubs for the past 30 days, W-2 forms for the past two years, information on your long-term debts (car loans, student loans, etc.), recent bank statements, tax returns for the past two years (especially if you're self-employed), proof of any supplemental income, records of any past derogatory credit history that you've paid off, and records of child support or alimony (either going in or coming out).

After you apply for your mortgage, Freddie Mac says your lender will schedule a loan interview with you and give you a list of the documentation you'll need to bring to the meeting.

Typically that documentation includes:

  • Your social security number
  • Birth date
  • Most recent pay stub showing year-to-date earnings
  • W-2 tax forms and tax returns for the past two yearsvThe names, addresses and telephone numbers of your employers for the past two years
  • Bank account numbers and current balances of all bank accounts
  • Statements of current assets (individual retirement accounts, certificates of deposit, stocks and bonds, etc.)
  • The value of your personal property (employee retirement accounts, furniture, cars, collections or other valuable property, life insurance, etc.)
  • All current loan creditor's names and addresses, as well as the monthly payments and total amounts due

If you currently own a home, the address, current market value, mortgage lender, account number, current monthly payment and balance due on the mortgage o If you rent, the address, name and address of your landlord and your current monthly rent o If you've lived in your current address for less then two years, detailed information for your previous addresses (name, address, phone of landlords. If applicable, also bring:

  • A signed copy of your ratified sales contract with receipts for the earnest money deposit toward the property
  • For gift money, a signed letter from the donor stating that you don't have to repay the gift
  • If self-employed, profit and loss statement and balance sheet for the past two years
  • If divorced, a copy of your divorce decree or maintenance agreement along with any amendments
  • A 12-month payment history of alimony or child support payments if the payments are needed to qualify for the mortgage
  • Your school transcripts or diploma if you do not have two years of employment history
  • If you own rental properties, your federal tax returns along with a schedule of all real estate owned and the account number and address of the mortgage company that holds the mortgages
  • If the property is rented, a copy of the current lease

By knowing what documents you'll need and getting them together ahead of time, you'll likely be less stressed, you'll get through the loan application process more quickly, and you'll ultimately be one step closer to owning your house.

Written by Michele Dawson