Getting ready to meet with a mortgage lender can be exciting; you’re one step closer to the home of your dreams. Don’t let the paperwork put a damper on things! Your lender is there to help you through the homebuying process, so you’ll want to assist them as much as possible. The information lenders ask for is vital to getting the keys to your new home, so it is helpful for you both if you come prepared. These are 5 documents you’ll need to buy a home.

1. Paystubs: Your lender wants to see paystubs, award letters for Social Security, and pensions or retirement from the last 30 days. The paystubs are your proof of current income and allow lenders to get an understanding of how much money you’ll have flowing in each pay period. It also lets them know a little bit about your employer or if you are self-employed.

2. Taxes/W2s: Lenders usually require the past 2 years’ worth of tax information, including returns and W2s This is mostly to let your lender know how much you really made, but it also gives them the chance to compare your numbers. Your lender must be able to verify all the assets you have listed on your application, so all your documents must match.

3. Bank Statements: You should provide your lender with at least 2 months of recent bank statements. They need to see that your income is being deposited into your account, as well as whether any additional deposits being made or any significant expenses. If you are receiving additional income from somewhere else, be prepared to show your lender where it is coming from and why. This includes any kind of “gift” you might have gotten from a family member to help you buy a home. Keep in mind that your bank statements will show if you’ve had any “NSF” or Non-Sufficient Funds.

4. Divorce Decree: While asking for your divorce decree might seem unnecessary, it is incredibly important to provide. There might be documentation with a previous last name, which the decree can easily explain. Your lender also needs to see if your name is on another mortgage. If your ex-spouse is now responsible for making payments on the mortgage your name is on, you’ll need to provide either a friend of the court printout or 12 months of cancelled checks to show your ex-spouse has been covering payments from their own account. Your decree will also let your lender know if you are obligated to make or are receiving alimony or child support payments. You only need to disclose how much you receive in payments if you are depending on them to help you qualify for a loan and to make mortgage payments. If you are, you will also need to provide proof of that income being received on time. If you do have an obligation to pay alimony/child support, your lender needs to know how much, as it affects your income. Whether you are receiving or obligated, your lender needs to know how much the payments are for and how long they are to continue. Click here for more information on how divorce can impact your finances.

5. Explanations: This might be the most tedious task, but it will help you and your lender move through the homebuying process much faster. Find and provide your lender with explanations for absolutely everything that impacts your income or credit for the last 2 years. If you do have bank statements showing “NSF,” tell your lender why. Don’t be embarrassed to tell your lender if you lost your job at any point within the last two years, they want to know. If your credit score is not great because of a late payment or an emergency, explain what happened. Every detail you can provide your lender will allow them to help you to the best of their ability.

The documentation you must provide can be overwhelming and time consuming to track down, but don’t feel like you are doing so for no reason. The required documentation will help you get the loan you need. If you’re interested in getting pre-qualified, click here for a more detailed list of items you’ll need. Your lender is on your side and wants to make your homebuying experience as smooth and efficient as possible, so meet with them prepared and ready.

If you have any questions about the home buying process or documentation requirements, contact one of our licensed Mortgage Loan Originators. If you are ready to begin the home buying process, click here to get started!