Getting Pre-Qualified

When you first start talking to a mortgage lender, they will likely provide you with a list of the specific documents they need to issue a pre-approval. This list can vary from one mortgage company to the next. 


  • Social security number for all borrowers who are listed on the mortgage loan. This information can be verified through a Social Security card, tax documents, or anything else that shows the SSN. The lender needs this to verify your identity, to request tax returns from the IRS, and to pull your credit reports.


  • Proof of employment. Your mortgage lender will need proof of employment.  Employer’s name, mailing address and phone number. They want to verify your employment, because it relates to your ability to repay the loan.


  • Proof of income. This will validate your income for pre-approval and underwriting. It might come in several forms. Usually, it’s your two most recent pay stubs, or the electronic equivalent, that show your year-to-date earnings. It’s your average annual income the lender wants to know about. The lender might also use tax records to verify your earnings.


  • Tax documents. This is a standard document for mortgage pre-approval. So, there’s a 99% chance you will have to provide tax documentation at some point. Most lenders want to see your W-2 statements and tax returns for the last two years. Among other things, your W-2s show how much money you earned over the previous year.  


  • Place of Residence. This one is self-explanatory. For pre-approval and underwriting purposes, the lender wants to know where you’ve lived for the last couple of years.


  • Bank account information. The lender will want to know how much money you have in the bank. They need to ensure you have enough funds for your closing costs, down payment, and cash reserves (if applicable). So, they will probably ask you for account statements and balances for any checking, savings, or money market accounts. This is another standard mortgage document for pre-approval. Nearly every lender will require this at some point during the approval process.


  • Credit information. Do you have other outstanding loans that you’re currently repaying. For example, car loans, student loans or credit cards. If so, the lender may ask for documents related to those accounts. They need this information to measure your debt to income ratio.


  • Purchase agreement. Once you have a signed contract with the seller, you’ll need to give a copy of it to the lender. You won’t have this mortgage document during the pre-approval process. This document shows the lender how much you’ve agreed to pay for the house. Later, they will have the property appraised to make sure it’s worth the amount you’ve agreed to pay.


  • Gift letters. Are your family members going to provide funds to help you cover your down payment expense? If so, you’ll need to provide a gift letter along with your other mortgage documents. The lender needs to verify that the money is truly a gift, and that your relatives don’t expect any form of repayment.


  • Self-employment documents. Do you run your own business? If so, you might have to provide some additional documents during the mortgage pre-approval process. This might include balance sheets, a profit-and-loss (P&L) statement, or federal tax statements for the last two years.

The lender may request additional information that is specific to your transaction.