A Mortgage Application Checklist That’ll Save You Time and Money

Buying a home can be quite a process. There’s the deposit, the appraisal, the home inspection, and closing. But, everything starts with the mortgage application.

The better prepared you are for this process, the less stressful and more pleasurable your home shopping experience will be. Start with this mortgage application checklist. Print it out. Put it on the fridge. Get your dream house. A good place to start is with this mortgage application checklist.

Mortgage Application Checklist

First, let’s discuss the set of documents needed for a mortgage application.

 

Work Documents:

  • One month of current pay stubs.
  • W-2s for the past two years.
  • If self-employed: tax returns and all applicable schedule forms for the past two years.

How to collect these documents: contact your employer’s human resource department or payroll provider, your tax preparer, or the IRS.

 

Financial Documents:

  • Bank statements (all pages) for your checking and savings accounts for the past two months.
  • Be prepared to explain (with documentation) any large (larger than normal) deposits into your bank accounts.
  • Investment and/or retirement account statements (401(k), IRA, etc.) for the previous quarter.

How to collect these documents: login and download them from your accounts online or contact the financial institutions where these accounts are held.

 

Personal Documents:

  • Government-issued photo I.D.: driver’s license, passport, U.S. Military I.D., etc.
  • Social Security card.

If you currently own a home:

  • Mortgage account information.
  • Home insurance policy information.
  • Home equity account information (if applicable).

How to collect these documents: login and download them from your accounts online or contact the financial institutions where these accounts are held.

Do’s and Don’ts during the mortgage application process

DO:

  • Stay current on all existing credit and loan accounts. Just one 30-day late notice can cost you.
  • Speak to your mortgage consultant before making any changes to your accounts.
  • Return any requested documents to the loan processor in a timely manner.
  • Keep the same home insurance company.
  • Notify your mortgage consultant if you have to make a home insurance claim.
  • Continue living at your current residence and stay up to date on your rent or mortgage payments.

 

DON’T:

  • Apply for a new credit card or loan. Each credit check by a creditor or lender can lower your credit score.
  • Make any major purchases, such as a car, boat, expensive jewelry, etc.
  • Transfer funds from one account to another, unless it can be verified.
  • Close any credit card accounts. When you close a credit card account, it may appear that your debt ratio (credit card balance to available credit line) has gone up.
  • Max out your credit cards. Credit card balances below 30% of their limit is generally the sweet spot.
  • Pay off collections or “charge offs.” If you want to pay off old accounts, do it through escrow and request a “letter of deletion” from the creditor.
  • Consolidate your debt or transfer credit card balances. When you consolidate all your debt onto one or two credit cards, it will appear that you “maxed out” that card and you will be penalized.
  • Change employment during the application process without notifying your mortgage consultant.
  • Deposit large cash or non-traceable funds.
  • Start any home improvement projects (if refinancing).
  • Leave for vacation or travel without alerting your mortgage consultant and making any appropriate arrangements.
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