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Mortgage pre-approval checklist

For a smooth and easy pre-approval process, be sure to gather this information before you set out to get a home loan.

Getting pre-approved for a mortgage can be an important first step in the home-buying process. When you get pre-approved, you’ll generally receive a pre-approval letter that estimates how much a lender may be able to lend you. This can help you set your budget so you can shop in a comfortable price range, and it can also give sellers the confidence that you're a credible buyer.

The pre-approval process is usually relatively easy. To complete your pre-approval application, you’ll generally need to provide basic information about yourself, along with your Social Security number to run a credit report. You’ll usually also need to provide a few documents as proof of income and assets.

Here’s a simple checklist of some of the documents and information you may need to provide. Having them ready when you talk to a lender can make the pre-approval process go more smoothly.

Basic income and asset documentation generally includes:

  • Income documentation (W-2, 1099) for the past two years
  • Federal tax returns for the past two years if you’re self-employed, have rental property, or have unreimbursed business expenses
  • Recent pay stubs or proof of direct deposit for Social Security or retirement income
  • Statements from any financial institution accounts (bank or investment) for the past two months; include all pages, even if they're blank

Other information that may be needed for unique situations:

  • If you own other real estate: addresses of any real estate you own and mortgage lender information
  • If you’re a veteran or active military: your DD Form 214 and VA Certificate of Eligibility
  • If you’re starting a new job: your offer letter
  • If you’re self-employed: a current profit-and-loss statement showing year-to-date revenue and expenses
  • If you’ve filed for bankruptcy: a bankruptcy discharge and schedule of creditors
  • If you’re using child support, alimony, or separate maintenance income to qualify: child support, alimony, or separate maintenance income documents
  • If you’re divorced or separated: a divorce decree or separation agreement

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