What Documents Do I Need to Get a Mortgage?

Real Estate Broker/Owner with Atlanta Homes ODAT Realty - Love our Great City - Love our Clients! Buckhead - Midtown - Westside

Dear Readers -

Sharing these ideas today, 1/14/18, from  John Meussner, a Mortgage professional in California whose VERY thorough list of documents needed for initiating a Mortgage application remains valid going forward.

John Meussner always gives me a chance to reblog "meaty" posts. He puts a lot of effort in his posts and it shows. He is personally licensed in CA, CO, DE, FL, GA, MD, NC, NJ, PA, TN, TX, and VA and, as he says, "with more states on the way"! John will refer Mortgage requests for other states - just ask him.

Some other posts from John Meussner are:

What Is The Best Type Of Loan For You?

Heart and Soul Of ActiveRain - Principle #1

What Is In a SCRIPT and Why a Script Can Help.


 All the best - Lynn

PS  If I haven't thanked you personally for reading my Blog, let me do so right now! I really appreciate your stopping by and (perhaps) commenting! L.

Original content by John Meussner NMLS #138061 MMCD #1141

What Documents Do I Need to Get a Mortgage?


     One of the most confusing, and often times frustrating, parts of buying a new home or refinancing an old mortgage loan is submitting all of the documentation required by lenders.  If the last time you got a mortgage was pre-TRID, pre-SAFE, pre-Dodd-Frank, the differences in the process can be shocking, demanding, and downright frustrating.  But they don't have to be.  In another blog, I outlined the loan process and what is generally involved.  Knowing how the mortgage process works is step 1 in a frustration-free application, and knowing what documentation is needed is step 2.  Mortgage documentation


     If you gather this information in advance, return requests for it quickly, and provide as much information as possible up front, you save yourself a lot of headache, and you can be one of those people who talk about how pleasant the home buying process is.  Obviously, different loan products call for different sets of documentation, but below are some standard items you should have prepared, or at least readily available, along with a few suggestions to have your mortgage made easy.


The Basics


For just about every mortgage product under the sun, you'll need to have the following:


- Copy of valid goverment photo ID.  This can be a driver's license, passport, visa, or ID card.  The key word to avoid frustration is valid.  If your driver's license has expired, get it renewed to ensure you only have to send it once.  Also, be sure the ID is legible - trying to fax an ID or copy it to paper then send can oftentimes make the ID impossible to read - we don't care so much about the photo, but we do need to be able to read things like address, expiration date, etc.  This is part of a lender's requirement to follow Patriot Act rules.


- Unexpired insurance policy with adequate coverage.  If you're buying a new home, you may not have a policy in place, but at the very least we'll need to know who you'll be using for insurance so we can send them lender requirements for when the policy is available.  If you're refinancing and your insurance is set to expire soon, you may need to provide a renewal notice, or (if the insurance provider refuses to provide a renewal w/updated premium) a rewritten policy to extend the coverage dates.



Income Documents


     Income documents will vary by loan program, and even by borrower (different borrowers may have different income documentation requirements for the same loan product)


For salaried or hourly borrowers, income documentation may vary greatly (we may be able to simply use a full verification of employment from your company and that's it).  Generally, it's a good idea to have the following ready to go or at least easily accessible:


- Most recent 2 years W2 forms

- Most recent 30 days paystubs reflecting year-to-date income



For borrowers who have income from self-employment, investments, real estate owned (REO), or retirement:


- Most recent 2 years federal tax returns, all schedules (depending on how self-employment is structured and how funds are distributed, both personal & business returns may be required)

- Award letters/evidence of receipt for distributions of investment income/pension/social security/etc


For borrowers using alternative income documentation:


- 12-24 months personal and/or business bank statements (One program we offer for example, requires either 12 months personal statements and 3 months business statements, OR 12 months business statements and 3 months personal statements)


***INCOME TIP*** - for any deviation in standard income (bonuses, time off that causes your 'year to date' income not to match your salary/hourly rate, etc) have a letter of explanation and preferably a paper trail to document the deviation. 


Asset Documents


- Standard asset requirements for down payment, closing costs, or cash to close is 2 months asset statements (bank statements, investment portfolio statement, etc), and all pages must be included (for example, if page one says "page 1 of ____", we'll need the statement in it's entirety


- Additional asset statements may be required for bank statement loans (typically 12 months of complete statements), asset depletion loans, or loans requiring reserves.  If funds required for closing or loan approval, we'll need the required number of months for each account being used.  


- If gift funds are being used, a gift letter & documentation that the gift is from an acceptable source will be required.  Some loan programs require proof of funds as well (meaning, if the gift is coming from a family member, that family member's bank statement may be required)


**ASSET TIP** Don't move money around between multiple accounts within 2 months of working on a mortgage.  When funds are moved and large deposits noted, a lender will want to have a papertrail which could involve a lot of paperwork when many accounts have money moving between them.  It's best to keep your funds in one place and have them in order 2+ months prior to buying a home or refinancing.  Of course, you can still move money around, but if you do, be prepared to document the movements.



Supporting Documents


Every borrower is unique, and for that reason, many loan files will require non-standard documentation for different scenarios.


- For situations that could require monthly liabilities, supporting documentation will be required (divorce decrees, legal separation agreements, etc)

- If you'd like to close your loan in a trust, the trust will need to be sent to the lender for review (in most instances closing in a trust is fine, but the trust will have to meet investor guidelines)

- Letters of explanation for recent credit inquiries, derogatory credit accounts, or any deviance in income or assets.  Your loan officer should be able to advise exactly what types of explanation will be requested by underwriting, and why.  


**DOCUMENT TIP**  Giving authorization to share information to a 3rd party (your lender) to your financial companies can save you time.  For example, if you use a CPA, they may have pdf files of your tax returns readily available, so with your approval, they can send them.  Your attorney will likely have easy access to court records, and while most banks have easy online access to full statements, you can also have the bank fax statements with your authorization.  If you pay professionals to help with your finances, they likely have electronic copies that can save you from digging around for paperwork.



     Without preparation, documentation for a mortgage application may seem daunting.  The truth is, it can be.  If you have complicated financials, inconsistent income, and a shaky credit history, the documentation requirements from a lender may be tedious.  However, preparing before you begin the process and knowing what documents to have on hand can make the process streamlined, fast, and stress-free.  Working with an experienced loan officer can also make your life a whole lot easier.  


     And remember, we're here to help you get your loan closed and funded as quickly as possible.  We don't want to deal with any documentation that isn't 100% necessary, and we don't care about your private details.  Messy divorce?  We don't want the details, we just want to be sure any resulting liabilities are included in the loan file.  Trust that indicates behind your modest exterior you're an uber-quadrillionaire?  We don't care and we're not telling anyone, we just want to know the trust verbiage isn't going to have Fannie Mae asking us to buy back your loan after closing.  We don't judge, we just want to get your loan closed, just like you.




John Meussner

NMLS# 138061

Visit My Website!


Comments (8)

Nina Hollander, Broker
Coldwell Banker Realty - Charlotte, NC
Your Greater Charlotte Realtor

Good morning, Lynn... great topic for a reblog... it's a message that can't be repeated enough, if you ask me.

Jan 14, 2018 05:05 AM
Lise Howe
Keller Williams Capital Properties - Washington, DC
Assoc. Broker in DC, MD, VA and attorney in DC

This is a great post - and certainly worth sharing again - Thanks to a wonderful loan officer -  John Meussner  

Jan 14, 2018 05:06 AM
John Meussner

Thank YOU Lise : )

Jan 14, 2018 12:39 PM
Eva B. Liland Century 21 Doug Anderson
Century 21 Doug Anderson - Lancaster, CA
Glad to be of Service 661-714-1643

In my niche, it is even more important to supply the lender with everything they are asking for. Sometimes it may seem somewhat questionable for them to ask but if they are asking, just do it or your hope of buying that home might not materialize.

Jan 14, 2018 05:59 AM
Lynn B. Friedman CRS Atlanta, GA 404-939-2727

Eva B. Liland with Century 21 Doug Anderson 
Of course, now everyone wants to know --- "In my niche, it is even more important ..." WHAT IS YOUR NICHE? Thanks - Lynn

Jan 18, 2018 10:47 AM
Hannah Williams
HomeStarr Realty - Philadelphia, PA
Expertise NE Philadelphia & Bucks 215-820-3376

As always you pick wonderful re-blogs Lynn B. Friedman 

Jan 14, 2018 06:57 AM
Lynn B. Friedman CRS Atlanta, GA 404-939-2727

Hannah Williams 
Thanks my Philly phriend! L.

Jan 18, 2018 10:47 AM
J Perrin Cornell
Coldwell Banker Cascade Real Estate - Wenatchee, WA

If you think this is something. In the very early 70s I was working for a large mortgage banking company doing secondary marketing. We had a loan commitment for residential loans from a S&L investor. Besides much of the above they wanted to know what type of birth control the applicants used. If none the woman's income was not to be counted. Rhythm you could count 50%, Pill 75% ... as they say "you've come a long way baby" 

Jan 14, 2018 08:48 AM
Lynn B. Friedman CRS Atlanta, GA 404-939-2727

J Perrin Cornell   I not only believe it - I experienced something similar. In 1968, I entered a prestigious University here in Atlanta that shall go unnamed. Not to be bragging, but I was the top candidate in my area and I was called to the Dean's Office about the full Scholarship I earned. Imagine my surprise, after he shut the door to his secretary's area so no one could hear his comments, when he said, "I knew you would want to know that you won fair and square but I will not give it to you. You are a young married woman 22 at the time! and you could get pregnant. I am giving it to a married man who needs it more than you do."

When I protested that it was 1968 and that was not legal, he calmly answered, "Don't worry, I will find something else to use as my reason. I just thought you would enjoy knowing that you had placed first."  Hmmm - can't say I enjoyed any of that interaction. For some reason, it wasn't "enjoyable".
Sounds like your example and mine were from the same era. L.

Jan 14, 2018 07:35 PM
George Souto
George Souto NMLS #65149 FHA, CHFA, VA Mortgages - Middletown, CT
Your Connecticut Mortgage Expert

Lynn good information to re-blog and share.

However,  Mr.Smith Terry in the two comments above needs to read the AR Guidelines and follow the rules.

Jan 14, 2018 03:52 PM
Lynn B. Friedman CRS Atlanta, GA 404-939-2727

George Souto 
Interesting that some people comment that the "same Challenges are repeated" when - ACTUALLY - the training is needed isn't it?
All the best - Lynn

Jan 14, 2018 07:38 PM