Buying a home is an exciting time! To make the process more efficient and enjoyable, make sure you’re prepared before you start looking for a new home. And this means finding out what documents you need to buy a home so that the underwriter will approve your loan application in a timely manner.
Gathering the documentation, you need to qualify and close your loan before you apply with a mortgage company will make your loan process more efficient. It also might end up saving you money. So take that important first step and gather the necessary documentation to ensure you’re ready to move forward with your purchase as a prepared homebuyer.
Below is a list of documents needed to buy a home, depending on where your income comes from. This is a general list to follow, and your underwriter may request additional documentation depending on your financial situation, credit score, and transaction.
Income Documents Needed To Buy A Home
With every purchase transaction in the mortgage industry, a lender requests certain documents before they will approve and close your loan. Here is a checklist of the documents you need to buy a home.
If You Are An Employee That Receives a W-21
- The most recent W-2 you’ve received (possibly the most recent two).
- Paystubs that cover a month’s period of time. So if you are paid weekly, that would be four weeks of paystubs; bi-weekly requires two paystubs, and monthly would only require one paystub to be turned in.
If You Are Self-Employed/Receive a 10992
- Your most recent tax return, personal and business, with all scheduled (federal only). You may have to provide two years.
- A P&L statement for the current year, possibly one for the prior year as well (depending on when you file your returns).
If You Are Retired3
- If you receive Social Security income, then proof of benefit and proof of receipt (a bank statement the money is deposited into).
- If you receive pension income, you’ll need documents similar to SS income; proof of benefit and possibly proof of receipt.
- Interest, dividend, and capital gains income: You’ll need two years of tax returns and proof that the current income level will continue for at least three years.
- For Asset Depletion, you’ll need two years of tax returns and proof it will continue for at least three years.
Work with your loan officer to obtain the specific list of required documents to buy a home, as they might be slightly different than what is listed above.
Asset Documentation Needed To Buy A Home
Buying a home means you need to have liquid assets (i.e., cash in the bank) for the down payment and closing costs. So asset statements are a part of the documents you need to buy a home.
You’ll need to provide statements covering the most recent two-month period to prove that the money is yours and not borrowed. The statements must be complete, and all pages (even the blank pages must be provided). The statements should be for the account(s) from which your funds to cover the downpayment and closing costs will come from.
Two Exceptions To The Asset Documentation Requirement
If you currently serve in the military or previously served, then you are qualified to apply for a VA home loan. Under the VA home loan program, you can buy a home with zero money down.
The second exception to the asset documentation requirement is for the FHA home loan program. Under the FHA home loan program, a relative or friend can gift you the down payment so that you are not required to come out of pocket for the down payment.
Homeowners Insurance Declarations Page
When you buy a home, you have to purchase homeowners insurance (mortgage lenders require you to have a policy).4
Once you have an accepted offer, it’s important you move quickly to get this set up. Once you have the information for the agent/company you are working with, be sure to send that over to the loan officer. The loan officer will need to contact the insurance agent/company to obtain the necessary documentation from them.
The documentation your loan officer obtains from your homeowner’s insurance company will include a copy of the Homeowners Insurance Declarations page.
Documentation If You Own Additional Properties
If you own rental properties, please be prepared to provide the following:
- Mortgage statements for each property
- Insurance information for each property
- Lease agreement(s)
You need mortgage statements to show if the monthly mortgage payment includes your property taxes and insurance. It should also confirm the amount owed and your current interest rate.
Additional Items That May Be Requested
- Legal Separation or Divorce: If you are legally separated or divorced, you’ll need to provide your separation or final divorce documentation. Typically the underwriter will want to see the entire divorce decree that has been recorded with the county.
- Bankruptcy: If you’ve filed for Bankruptcy in the last seven years, you may have to provide Bankruptcy documentation to the underwriter.5 There are many different types of Bankruptcy; however, the two most common are Chapter 13 Bankruptcy and Chapter 7 Bankruptcy.
- Tax Lien: If you owe back taxes and have a payment plan set up with the IRS, you’ll have to show the documentation from the IRS that explains the payment plan. It should show what years you owe, the total amount owed, the monthly payment, and for how long you’ll be paying.
Staying On Top Of Current Mortgage Rates
Knowing where the market is with respect to mortgage rates is one of the most important aspects of home buying. Stay up-to-date with current mortgage rates and ask your Loan Officer to share their advice on which way the market is moving.
A word of advice: when it comes to buying a home, it’s important not to wait too long to lock in your rate/terms.
Buying a home is one of the most significant financial undertakings for most Americans. Being empowered with information about the mortgage process will help you have a more successful transaction.
Take the time to be prepared and gather the documents needed to buy a home. And talk with your loan officer to ensure that you meet the requirements underwriting wants before your loan application is submitted for approval.