Preparing for the Lender
A lender will help you assess your financial situation and mortgage options. Here are some documents to prepare and questions to ask your lender.
Lender Checklist: What You Need for a Mortgage
- W-2 forms (or business tax return forms if you’re self-employed) for the last two or three years for every person signing the loan.
- Copies of at least one pay stub for each person signing the loan.
- Account numbers of all your credit cards and the amounts for any outstanding balances.
- Copies of two to four months of bank or credit union statements for both checking and savings accounts.
- Lender, loan number, and amount owed on other installment loans, such as student loans and car loans.
- Addresses where you’ve lived for the last five to seven years, with names of landlords if appropriate.
- Copies of brokerage account statements for two to four months, as well as a list of any other major assets of value, such as a boat, RV, or stocks or bonds not held in a brokerage account.
- Copies of your most recent 401(k) or other retirement account statement.
- Documentation to verify additional income, such as child support or a pension.
- Copies of personal tax forms for the last two to three years.
10 Questions to Ask Your Lender
- What are the most popular mortgages you offer? Why are they so popular?
- Which type of mortgage plan do you think would be best for me? Why?
- Are your rates, terms, fees, and closing costs negotiable?
- Will I have to buy private mortgage insurance? If so, how much will it cost, and how long will it be required? (NOTE: Private mortgage insurance is usually required if your down payment is less than 20 percent. However, most lenders will let you discontinue PMI when you’ve acquired a certain amount of equity by paying down the loan.)
- Who will service the loan—your bank or another company?
- What escrow requirements do you have?
- How long will this loan be in a lock-in period (in other words, the time that the quoted interest rate will be honored)? Will I be able to obtain a lower rate if it drops during this period?
- How long will the loan approval process take?
- How long will it take to close the loan?
- Are there any charges or penalties for prepaying the loan?