Mortgage Checklist for Buying a Home

Mortgage checklist - Common items needed to process and approve a mortgage loan to purchase a home

Purchase Mortgage Checklist

Providing complete and accurate information to your mortgage lender up-front is paramount.  Using this mortgage checklist will help in the following ways.

  • on-time closing
  • Accurate pre-approval
  • Quicker underwriting times
  • More confidence in purchasing a home

This mortgage checklist includes common items necessary to process your mortgage loan.  Although keep in mind that several items may not apply to all scenarios.  These items apply for all borrowers that will be on the mortgage, unless otherwise specified.

Mortgage Checklist:

  •  Copy of legible driver’s licenses & social security cards, if not a US citizen, need front and back copy of Permanent Resident Alien card.   Provide a color copy/scan so we are able to clearly identify each borrower
  • Paystubs to cover the most recent 30 day period.  As new paystubs are received, send those as well.
    • If no paystubs received yet due to new job, provide signed employment offer and signed acceptance letter.  It should  specify the job title, start date, and pay rate.
  • 2 most recent year’s w2’s, 1099’s, and personal Federal tax returns (all schedules of the federal return.  We don’t need the state return)
  • If self-employed, provide 2 most recent business returns as well
  • Social security, retirement, disability income:  Copy of the most recent award letter and proof of receipt for last 2 months
  • 2 most recent actual monthly statements for banking, investment, & retirement accounts (all pages of each actual statement)
  • For any down payment money that is gifted from a family member, we will need the following.  Ask us if you have questions and there could be alternatives allowed.
    • Gift letter signed by donor and yourself.  We will provide the specific letter to sign.
    • Cashier’s check for gift money given by donor
    • Daily history printout for your bank account showing the gift funds in the account.  Printout should start at the ending date of the most recent statement through the at least the deposit date
    • Copy of donor’s bank statement for the account the money leaving.  This is to show he/she has the ability to give the money.  Plus it proves it is not borrowed.
    • Or simplest could use a wire from the donor direct to the closing attorney (ask how this works)
  • Name and phone number for your chosen homeowner’s insurance agent.  Ask your agent to provide a quote early!
  • Signed letter of explanation for any issues reporting on your credit report.
  • Credit reference letters from at least 3 creditors paid on time for the past 12-24 months.  This helps borrowers with no or very limited credit.
  • Copy of the signed divorce decree/separation agreement (all pages) and child support order if applicable
  • Contact information for your landlord.  If you don’t pay rent, we will need a signed letter from the owner of the house.  The letter must state that you live there “rent free”
  • Cancelled rent checks for 12 months (or money order receipts) if renting from an individual, when possible
  • Copy of your most recent mortgage statement on your current home to prove the total payment with taxes and insurance.  If property is free and clear, provide copy of insurance coverages and most recent property tax bill.  Additionally this applies if your property is free and clear as well.
  • Copy of the cancelled check for the earnest money deposit.  This applies once you are under contract plus it cleared your bank.
    • Cash cannot be verified, so please notify me ASAP if earnest money was paid in cash
    • If earnest money check was written by someone other than yourself please notify me ASAP.   This could cause problems.
  • Do you have a preference of closing attorney?

For USDA Loans Only:

  • Income documentation for all adult household members (on the loan or not).  For all adults with no income, we need a signed and notarized letter from each stating they have “no income”.  We will provide form letter with required and specific language.

For VA Loans Only:

  •  If discharged from the military, DD214
  • If currently in the military, Statement of Service letter from veteran’s current command.  VA is very specific about the Statement of Service.  It must state veteran’s DOB, SSN, Entry date for active duty, duration of lost time if any, type of duty veteran is serving under, and the name of the command providing the information.
  • Name, address, phone number, and relationship to you for a nearest living relative (not in your household)For

All Government Loans (USDA/FHA/VA):

  • Borrower must have actual Social Security number, CANNOT be just a Taxpayer Identification Number.

What to do and NOT to do:

Important information regarding the above (PLEASE READ): 

  • DO NOT quit your job or open any new debts as it could deny your loan! – believe it or not borrowers do this often and it will cause a loan to be denied at the end!
  •  Paystubs must identify the employer, employee information, and year to date income and deductions
  • Do not deposit cash into your bank account or pay your earnest money deposit in cash!!  It can cause major issues with your loan.
  • Actual mailed statements.  Furthermore, you can access your online account and choose to “view statements”.  Then print it or send as a PDFs.  Statements must have the bank name and account numbers.   A daily history printout usually won’t work since they don’t show your identifying information.
  • All banking, investment, and retirement account statements, must have all pages.  For instance, if the statement says 1 of 7, we would need all 7 numbered pages even if blank.  Often back pages are blank but we don’t know unless we have those pages
  • If you notice generic deposits on your bank statements, provide proof of the deposit sources.  Let us know if you have questions on this documentation
  • Make a legible copy of the driver’s license.  For clarity of the small numbers, the picture, and dates, it helps to enlarge the copy.  A fax copy of a license will not be viewable
  • Don’t wait until the end to choose and start talking to your insurance agent.  Do this up-front to prevent surprises or delays in the end
  • As you receive new paystubs or banking statements, send them.  Therefore, we always have the most recent ones in the file

In Conclusion:

Even if not under contract, it is best to provide documentation on the mortgage checklist early.  It will speed up the approval and closing process.  If you have any questions on any of these items, please contact us.

Ask questions about this mortgage checklist.  We want to make sure we answer your questions.  So please ask.

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Written By: Russell Smith

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