14 Documents You Need to Get a Mortgage

Spring is here and everything is new again—perhaps even your address! Hunting for a new home is much more fun when the weather is warm and the flowers are in bloom.
 
For those still considering a new home purchase, the mortgage process is often the most stressful part. Even with great credit, tracking down all of the proper documentation can cause even the most serene person to lose their cool. According to Amy Moser, vice president of mortgage services for Mountain America, “Not everyone is comfortable revealing important details about their finances. For most of us, this goes against every fiber of our being.”
 
To make it easier, Mountain America Credit Union has put together a checklist of the most common documents you’ll need for a home loan. If you plan to secure a mortgage within the next six months, take a look at our list. Even if you don’t need these documents right away, knowing how and where to access them can reduce frustration and ensure a sense of calm when the time comes.
 
  1. W-2 forms: Anyone with a conventional job will need to provide the previous 1–2 years of these employer forms.
  2. Pay stubs: Typically one months’ worth.
  3. Bank statements and other assets: It’s important to provide at least the last two months of account history. In addition to saving and checking accounts, be sure to also provide stock accounts, IRA, 401(k), etc.
  4. Tax returns: If you’re self-employed, have a side business, own rental property or have a lot of employee business expenses, you’ll probably need two years’ worth of tax returns, both business and personal. In the absence of any of these situations, one year is usually sufficient.
  5. Identification: A driver’s license is the typical form of ID that is accepted. If you don’t have one, be prepared to produce a passport or state-issued ID card.
  6. If you’re not a U.S. citizen, proof of legal U.S. residency: For permanent residents, that means a green card. People who are in the U.S. on other types of visas may need to provide additional documentation.
  7. Proof of military service: if you want a loan through the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs program, you’ll need your DD Form 214, Certificate of Release or Discharge from Active Duty.
  8. K–1 and business tax returns: Tax returns were covered above. Depending on the structure of your business, you may need to provide additional documents, like a profit-and-loss statement for the current year.
  9. Sources of funds: If the bank statements you submitted to support your home loan show any large or unusual deposits, you’ll have to verify the source of that money. “In the past, you could write a letter of explanation for something like this,” says Moser. “Now, lenders are much more diligent and will require a paper trail for the money.” For instance, if you sold stock or other assets, you’ll need to provide documentation to verify the sale and proceeds received.
  10. Gift letter: If someone gifted money to you to help with your home purchase, you’ll need to document this, too. This is common with first-time homebuyers. Get a letter from your benefactor that includes the relationship between you and your donor, the amount of the gift, the date it was made and the intended purpose for the money. The donor may be asked to provide additional documents, like bank statements, to further verify the funds. Some lenders also require a donor’s signature.
  11. Alimony or child support documents: Not every lender asks if you receive alimony or child support, but you can include these funds to qualify for the loan. If so, you may be asked for your divorce settlement, proof that your ex is paying regularly and verification that the payments will continue for at least two or three years.
  12. Proof of reserves: Lenders are looking to see that you have enough money to get the loan and enough to make your monthly payments. Showing cash reserves that include three months’ worth of payments will usually suffice. This documentation can also be helpful if you have a weak job history or mediocre credit.
  13. Cancelled rent checks: If you don’t own another home, you’ll probably be asked to show a history of on-time rent payments. This is usually done by providing 12 months of cancelled checks or digital payment receipts, or by the landlord filling out a verification form. A detailed history of utility payments may also be acceptable.
  14. Signed purchase agreement: If you’re getting preapproved, you won’t need this document. But when you have an accepted offer, your lender will need a copy.
 
You’re the heart of your home but Mountain America can help you get the home that makes your heart beat faster! And we’ve made it even easier to qualify for a mortgage—with our Instant Mortgage Rate Quote. Yep, that means no waiting for hours or, sometimes, even days. Just answer a few questions, review the returned information, then adjust the information if you want. Once you’ve chosen a quoted rate, you can even apply right there on the website or request additional details.
 

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