Over the past few months, our team has covered how to get pre-approved for a mortgage and how to work with a real estate agent to shop for homes in your price range and sign a purchase agreement. We’ve been working to demystify the home buying and mortgage process for first time home buyers by delving into each step.
This month, we’re covering the next two steps in the mortgage and home buying process: the mortgage loan application and loan processing. These two steps are what launch you into the mortgage approval process, so it’s important to get these right the first time to avoid headaches later. Below we’ve provided a list of the documents needed when applying for a mortgage, as well as what to expect during loan processing.
The Mortgage Loan Application
Work with your mortgage lender to fill out the mortgage loan application, officially known as the Uniform Residential Loan Application (URLA), or Fannie Mae Form 1003. The application contains several sections that request information about you, your finances, the property, and details of your potential mortgage. Since this form can sometimes be confusing, we recommend working closely with your lender and asking for help to ensure you’re completing the application accurately.
What Documents Will I Need to Provide?
Similar to your pre-approval, you’ll be required to verify your income and employment, assets, debts, and the property. It’s important to note that the documents needed by your lender will vary, and it’s common that your lender will ask you for more documents as they review your application.
Income and Employment
Your lender will need to verify your income so they can feel confident that you can pay back the loan. Be prepared to provide recent pay stubs, W-2 statements, and tax returns for the past two years. If you’re self-employed, provide profit and loss statements and tax returns for this year and the past two years. Also be sure to provide proof of any additional income made, such as from investments.
To get an accurate picture of your financial situation, your lender will ask for a list of any assets you may have. Provide the account numbers for any checking and savings accounts you’re using to qualify for the mortgage, as well as a copy of the last three months of statements for these accounts. You will also need to provide statements from any retirement or brokerage accounts you may have, including IRAs, investment accounts, CDs, or 401(k) accounts.
Your debts factor into your ability to repay your mortgage, so your lender will need to know how much you owe and to whom. You will need to provide a list of any debts you owe, such as car or student loans, copies of alimony or child support payments, or rental payments. Also, be prepared to provide copies of credit card statements covering the last three billing periods.
You will also need to provide a copy of the purchase agreement and the earnest deposit to your lender. Your lender will need to know about the property you wish to buy because the property will act as collateral on the loan. They are also looking to verify if the property is worth what they are willing to loan out for it.
Once you complete the application, you’ll receive a loan estimate, which provides you with the estimated loan terms, including loan amount and interest rate, projected payments, closing costs, and other considerations of your loan. At this point, you are neither approved nor denied for a home loan; you are simply shown the loan terms your lender expects to offer if you’re approved.
Once you’ve reached this step, your work is basically done. From here, your lender will send all of your documents to a loan processor to review and organize into a file for the underwriter.
Loan processors play a critical role in the process, as they double-check and fix any errors that may have been made in previous steps to give you the best chance of being approved. Loan processors will also begin verifying income, assets, and employment. They will order the property inspection, appraisal, title search, and credit reports in this step, too.
Though you don’t play a large role in this step, it’s critical to not make any major changes that could affect your chances of being approved. This means staying away from making any large purchases with a credit card, taking on new lines of credit, or taking on debt.
We’re nearing the finish line of the mortgage and home buying process — just one more step to go. Are you ready to begin your home buying journey? Apply online today to get the process started, or you can send us a note or give us a call at 608-833-3800 with your questions!