Buying Your First Home? Here are the Documents You Need to Apply for the Mortgage.

Applying for a mortgage is a multi-step process that takes a lot of patience and diligence. However, getting organized is the first step to keeping it all straight. There’s a lot of paperwork involved, but don’t be intimidated. Follow these handy tips to know what you need to provide to your local loan officer…

In the early days of your journey to buying your first home, you should shop around for the right mortgage lender. Obtaining a mortgage loan approval will let you know what you can spend on a new home, with many factors playing into this like credit worthiness and annual salary.

Go online and check your neighborhood direct lenders and banks. Each one will have different rates and rules. Look at customer testimonials to get a good idea of what kinds of experiences other people have had with each.

Loan approval is a large part of the home buying process. It’s important to get this out of the way first before even looking at a home.
So how can you make the approval process as smooth as possible? From W2s to pay stubs, providing all the necessary documentation up front will make the process go quickly and painlessly. It’s helpful to have a list of the paperwork you will need before you even head to the bank or direct lender.

Documents You’ll Need to Take to Your Lender

Pre-approval Documents (for Purchase):

  • W-2 for the last two years
  • Federal Tax Returns for the last two years
  • Paystubs for the last month
  • Driver’s License or Passport copy
  • Last two bank statements, including checking and savings accounts, 401(k)s, investments, etc.
  • Executed purchase contract
  • Realtor contact information
  • Escrow contact information

Additional Documents You May Need to Provide (Be Prepared)

  • K1s and Business Tax returns for self-employed borrowers
  • Divorce decree
  • Copy of Trust
  • Copy of alimony or child-support award letters
  • Letters of Explanation for credit inquiries made in the last three months
  • Any bank deposits totaling more than 50 percent of your income

Your FICO score will play a big role in determining how much you can borrow from the bank for your mortgage. FICO takes into account the following factors:

  • Payment history
  • Debt burden
  • Length of credit history
  • Type of credit
  • Recent searches for credit

FHA Loans

FHA Loans are a lot more flexible in that they don’t require the 10 to 20 percent down that traditional mortgages do. You can get money for the down payment from many sources, such as family members and through gifts.

But you will still have to come up with all that documentation at the time of application.

You will also need to show a FICO score of at least 580, and your loan must total less than $625,500.

HomeReady Loans

HomeReady loans are similar in their flexibility, plus they allow you to use “boarder income” in order to qualify.

Basically, if you have a roommate paying rent, you can use this income towards qualifying for a mortgage. With rentals bringing in anywhere from $600 to $2,000 for a roommate, this could be a big portion of your mortgage payment every month. To qualify, you’ll have to provide documentation of the rent you have been receiving from this roommate over the last year.

In addition, your roommate must also sign documents promising they intend to move into the home with you and continue to pay their rent.

Getting the right mortgage lender on your side to help you through the process is key! Be sure to partner up with the right lender and do your part to prepare the documents you need in advance and your home loan process will be vastly improved.


With over 20 years of experience in the mortgage industry, Mike Wise is a seasoned mortgage lender, well versed in every imaginable aspect of mortgage banking. To learn more about the services offered by Mike Wise and Capstone Direct Mortgage Financing in Thousand Oaks, CA, visit their website at CapstoneDirect.com.