I Want To Buy A House. Step One...Pre-Approval.

Real Estate Agent with Big Block Realty 858.232.8722 CA BRE# 01261476

I'm blessed to get many calls per year from people either wanting to see one of my listings off "sign-calls", or they want to see someone else's listing and called me because they were in my leads program or they are ready to buy a house and were referred to me recently. In all cases, my first two questions are always, "Do you already have a Realtor you are working with?" and "Would you please send me your pre-approval letter, or give me your lender's contact info?"

It amazes me how many agents don't ask that first.

I either get a long silent pause, an immediate "I don't have a lender" or "what's a preapproval letter?"

That is step one, even before we go look at homes, after all, how do we know you can afford it and can secure a loan to do so? Realtors only show homes you'd potentially buy; e.g. offer on that same day you saw the home; we do not show homes...just to show homes.

So, here's what's needed to get preapproval (not just pre-qualified) in CA as shared with me by my #1 lender and fellow Rainmaker, Jason Gordon:




  • Pay-stubs: most recent 30 days (to document all sources of income)
  • W2/1099 Forms: 2012 & 2013
  • Federal Tax Returns (all pages): 2009 & 2010

1.      Personal

2.      Business/Corporate (if applicable)


  • Checking & Savings Account Statements (all pages): Most recent 3 months
  • Additional Investments and/or Retirement Account Statements: Most recent 3 months (or quarterly) statements



  • Legible copy of Drivers License for each Borrower

·         Legible copy of Social Security Card or Passport for each Borrower

·         (If you are Self-Employed): Business License to provide evidence of:

1.      At least 2 years in business-for-self

2.      That business is still active (unexpired business license is perfect)

·         For each residential property you currently own (if applicable):

1.      Evidence of Homeowners Insurance (“Declarations Page” which shows your coverage amounts)

2.      Recent statement for your mortgage

3.      Lease Agreements (if applicable)

4.      Homeowner Association (HOA) Contact Information & Monthly HOA Dues Payment Amount (if applicable)

·         Divorce Decree (if applicable)

·         Evidence of VA Eligibility (if applicable)

·         Bankruptcy Discharge Papers (if applicable)


Friendly Tips (to ensure the smoothest experience possible):

·         Most of the above referenced documents can be acquired/sent electronically via a “PDF” file. For example:

o   Tax Returns – Your CPA can email these to you instead of you needing to dig through your file cabinets for these

o   Bank Statements – Nearly every Bank now has the ability to download bank statements on their websites (this can help you save time/expense of copying extra pages)

·         “All pages” truly means ALL PAGES

o   Even if a page of your bank statements or tax returns appears to be insignificant, current underwriting guidelines (for all Lenders) want every page (even if it is a blank page that only says “Page 4 of 4”)

My endorsement to this Top 10 San Diego blogger on Active Rain:

Jason E. Gordon

Residential Mortgage Specialist


New AmeriFirst Logo

AmeriFirst Financial Incorporated

Direct Lender / Wholesale Broker

12544 High Bluff Drive, Suite 100 | San Diego | CA | 92130

1000 Aviara Parkway, Suite 110 | Carlsbad | CA | 92011
Direct 619-200-8031 | Toll Free 888-832-6420 | Fax 888-392-7699

www.ApprovingSD.com | jgordon@amerifirst.us  

Posted by

REALTOR®, CRS, RCS-D, CDPE, ePro, Certified:Military Home Specialist,

Certified: Luxury Home Specialist Podcast Host, Author & Keynote Speaker


Brokered by Big Block Realty

Do You Know The Market Says Your Home is Worth?

CA-BRE# 01261476, since 1999  (My Team)

 "Oh by the way, I'm never too busy to serve you and your referrals to good people like you."

 mobile: 858-232-8722 / e-fax: 650-240-0717   


 Sunroad Corporate Center: 4445 Eastgate Mall l Suite 200 San Diego l CA 92121

RCS-DivorceSouthern California Chapter of Certified Residential Specialists (CRS)

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Disclaimer:  Nothing in this blog article is to be construed as legal advice, tax advice, medical advice or financial advice.  For legal advice see an attorney.   For tax advice, health or financial advice see a tax attorney, certified public accountant, or other qualified professional.

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Jordon Wheeler
The Jordon Wheeler Group - Fairburn, GA
J W Group Real Estate Sales and Service

Hey Thomas,

Great advice for anyone looking to buy a home and obtain financing for the purchase.

Best of GREAT success to you in 2014!

Jan 24, 2014 03:56 PM #1
Andrew Mooers | 207.532.6573
Northern Maine Real Estate-Aroostook County Broker

Agree pre-approval before running all over the green acres is key. But for those not approved yet but with a few questions you determine they are ones to bet on in the house horse race to win, place, show. Show... with videos and don't put them off or demand copies of the pre-approval first. You miss out.

Jan 25, 2014 09:52 PM #2
Thomas J. Nelson, Realtor, ePRO, CRS, RCS-D
Big Block Realty 858.232.8722 - La Jolla, CA
& Host of Postcards From Success Podcast

Andrew, I agree, I always set up an "preliminary MLS" for them, set up & conduct an orientation meeting, just never put them in the car until approved.

Jan 26, 2014 06:17 AM #3
Troy Erickson AZ Realtor (602) 295-6807
Good Company Real Estate www.ChandlerRealEstate.weebly.com - Chandler, AZ
Your Chandler, Ahwatukee, and East Valley Realtor

Thomas, very well said. So many buyers live in a fantasy world where they just want to look at homes they think they would like to buy, and never even consider whether they could afford it or not. Now that the lending guidelines have become more strict, I am sure many buyers will be in for a shock when they realize what it takes to buy a home, and how much they might be able to afford.

Feb 12, 2014 09:49 AM #4
Thomas J. Nelson, Realtor, ePRO, CRS, RCS-D
Big Block Realty 858.232.8722 - La Jolla, CA
& Host of Postcards From Success Podcast

Troy, it never ceases to amaze me how many want to "fire-ready-aim" their process. Thanks for your comments & reading.

Jul 31, 2014 01:51 AM #5
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Thomas J. Nelson, Realtor, ePRO, CRS, RCS-D

& Host of Postcards From Success Podcast
Referrals & Sales-free Help / Info Here.
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