3 min read

You’re excited about getting your mortgage preapproved and having a preapproval letter to go house hunting with. What documents do you need to have ready to start things moving?

Plan ahead

Getting preapproved means filling out a full loan application. Think ahead when you start planning to buy your home, and get all of your ducks in a row before beginning the process.   

Know your credit score 

Ideally, you’ll pull your credit scores from the three major bureaus a few months before you start applying for a home loan. This gets you a good look at your score, and lets you fix things on your report. Then, don’t touch your credit for a few months to make sure you don’t change your numbers. It will also help you avoid any last minute surprises if there are any errors.

Know your finances

You’ll want to gather your last few months of bank statements, or print them out if you bank online. Include all savings and checking accounts for anyone who is an applicant, and also pull your statements for any money market or investment accounts.

High level mortgage loan banks may have a smart application system that will give you the option of allowing your LO to pull your bank statements automatically into the system eliminating the needs for actual statements.

If you have pay stubs from your place of employment, gather those as well as your past 2 years of tax returns. This shows stability of income over time. Then list all of your monthly debts, like your anticipated mortgage payment plus things like auto payments, credit card debt, or student loans. This helps you get an idea of what your debt to income (DTI) ratio is.    

Fill out the Loan Application

You can begin filling out your loan application online, and get help from a loan officer (LO) if needed. As you proceed, the stack of documents you’ve gathered will provide the information you need. Once you’re done with your application, you’ll be able to upload your documents into our secure online portal. 

You will need clean, clearly legible copies of the following for all borrowers to scan, save as a PDF, and upload:

  • W2’s (last two years)
  • 1040 federal tax returns (last two years, include all schedules)
  • Past 30 days of pay stubs
  • Past two months of personal bank statements, all pages  
  • Most recent quarterly or monthly asset statement(s) including all pages (if referenced in loan application): 
    • Checking/savings
    • Investments
    • 401K accounts

Self Employment

If you are self-employed, you’ll need the following (if applicable):

  • Corporate tax returns (last two years, all schedules) 
  • 1099’s (last two years)
  • K-1’s  (last two years)

Sole proprietors who file a W2 with or without a schedule C typically only need the last two years’ of those documents including all pages. 

Documentation for Final Approval

Go ahead and gather the rest of your documents needed for final loan approval to make sure your home purchase goes smoothly. You might need things like:  

  • Copy of photo identification for each borrower (possibly at the preapproval stage)
  • Debit or credit card information for ordering the appraisal
  • Current homeowner insurance declaration page  
  • Current mortgage statement  
  • 2 years of documented income from retirement, pension, SS income or rental property income (if you are claiming it as income for the purposes of the loan) 

VA Loan Documentation

If you are eligible for a VA loan, you need a few service related documents to get your preapproval letter.

  • Statement of service from your commanding officer (active duty)
  • Copy of your DD214 (separated)   
  • A complete COE form 26-1880 request
  • Your Certificate of Eligibility (COE) (ask your loan officer for help if needed)

Scan all of your paperwork and save it on a flash drive so you have it if needed for digital transfer. Put the drive with your hard copies paper copies neatly in a large envelope or flat binder. 

Make sure you update your copies monthly to ensure you have your latest most current mortgage statements, paystubs, and bank statements. Documents aged past 60 days may need to be reuploaded to the portal with the latest information.

View loan limits in your area

Rates & Money is your go-to destination for free information about mortgages. Our home buyer guides and home loan articles are designed to help you make informed decisions when buying a home


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