The Complete Checklist For First Home Mortgage Pre-approval

February 4, 2016
Last updated:
November 24, 2021
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When you’re looking to apply for your first home loan, it may seem like there’s an endless stack of paperwork needed for mortgage pre-approval. You can actually get the ball rolling with just a few documents, but most of us want to know the big picture as well.

It’s not really that hard! Whether you’ve already started applying or not, be prepared. With our complete checklist, you should have everything you need to get through the entire process.

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Your personal data should be easiest to provide.

You’ll need to have some basic contact and identity information available. Don’t take the easy stuff for granted; sometimes applicants get it wrong!

A lot of these things are extremely simple to provide, but a couple of items can slip through the cracks if you’re at a temporary location, you’ve changed names because of marriage, or gotten a new Social Security number after identity theft.

Double check: having incorrect or incomplete information may delay your pre-approval!

Personal Information

  • Name
  • Phone number
  • Email
  • Social Security number
  • Current address

Next, show proof of your income and assets.

If you’re self-employed or you’ve recently changed jobs, this step may be harder. Make sure that you are thorough, however, as it’s important to make sure that your pre-approval stays the same so you can ultimately close on the house!

Related: Yes, you can buy and sell your home when self-employed

General Documents

  • W2 or 1099 tax documents
  • Current bank statement
  • Copy of valid ID such as a driver’s license

Most applications will ask for a few things that you’ll decide for yourself.

Try to have this information ready before the application. While it doesn’t necessarily require any paperwork, this might be harder because the decision lies with you.

This information is very helpful, but if you can’t decide, apply anyway. A loan officer will be able to help evaluate your position.

Application Decisions

  • Will you have a co-applicant such as a spouse?
  • What is your absolute maximum desired home value?
  • How much money will you be able to put towards a down payment?

Be prepared for lenders to check your rent payment history and credit to qualify you.

If you have any incorrect information against your credit or payment history, make sure you fix it as soon as possible. Some errors take many months to resolve, and this information can still affect your pre-approval until it comes off of your record.

Credit and Background:

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VA Loans require proof of service.

This step may not be extremely hard for active duty servicemembers, as Leave and Earnings Statements are always readily available.

Veterans, on the other hand, might not have all documents on-hand for mortgage pre-approval. If obtaining your DD 214 is going to take some time, start the process immediately. A VA-backed loan cannot be completed until proof is provided!

VA Loans:

  • Leave and Earnings Statement (Active Duty)
  • Military ID card (Active Duty)
  • DD 214 (Retired or Separated)

Keep communication open if more information is needed!

Make sure that the contact information you provide on the mortgage pre-approval application is the fastest way to reach you, as a loan officer may need something unique to your personal instance.

Need a loan?

Will you need mortgage financing to buy a home? We offer a wide variety of mortgage programs and tools with flexible qualification criteria. We serve the entire state, as well as the broader Pacific Northwest region that includes Oregon, Colorado, and Idaho. Please contact us today with any financing-related questions you have.

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