Homeowner seeking a fast mortgage approval

Pre-Application Tips For A Fast Mortgage Approval

Things move a bit faster these days, and getting a fast mortgage approval is essential to the home buying process. To get your loan application approved before your loan contingency is up, you’ll need to work directly with your loan officer to prepare your file for the underwriter. Before that can happen, there are things you can do to ensure you’re in the best position to get a fast mortgage approval.

Four pre-application tips for a fast mortgage approval

  • Review your finances
  • Know your credit rating
  • Have your documentation ready to go
  • Choose an experienced loan officer you can trust

I’m focused on the pre-application rather than post-application for a reason. If you follow these four tips exactly as they’re laid out, you will be in the best possible position to obtain a fast mortgage approval and close your home loan in as little as two to three weeks.

The fourth tip listed above is to choose an experienced loan officer you can trust to take over post-application. The loan officer is in charge of getting everything structured and moving forward post-application, and you need to trust they can get the job done. Essentially, they will carry the torch to the finish line, and you just need to follow their lead.

For a better understanding of how to get a fast mortgage approval, see my breakdown of each pre-application tip below.

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Review your finances

The first step to getting a fast mortgage approval is reviewing your finances. That means having a clear idea of everything associated with your income, assets, and debts. The underwriter will consider all of these when approving your mortgage.

W-2 Employee

Job history and income are a must. Here is what you should be ready to provide to the loan officer.

  • Name of employer
  • Job title
  • Address of the employer and contact number
  • Number of years employed with current employer
  • Number of years in your current line of work

Self-Employed

If you are Self-Employed, then you’ll want to have the following information so that you can get an accurate quote from a loan officer.

  • Name of business
  • Address and contact number for your business
  • The number of years you’ve been in business
  • Net income you received in the previous two years

Retired

If you are Retired, then you’ll want to have the following information ready when you call the loan officer for a quote.

  • Number of years retired
  • Annual pension income (if applicable)
  • Annual Social Security income
  • Annual investment income (if applicable)
  • Annual interest income (if applicable)

If you own additional property, make sure you have the following information when you connect with a loan officer.

  • Complete address of the property
  • Monthly rent
  • Annual property taxes and insurance
  • HOA dues (if applicable)
  • Net income reported to the IRS
  • Copy of the lease agreement you have with the tenants

Having this information is critical before you start calling around for mortgage quotes.

Know your credit rating

When an underwriter evaluates your loan application, they will focus on three main areas before issuing an approval. The areas of focus are your loan-to-value ratio, your debt-to-income ratio, and your credit rating.

Regarding your credit rating, be prepared to let the loan officer know if you have any of the following on your credit report.

  • Late payments
  • Credit cards with balances above 50% of their limits
  • Collection accounts
  • Accounts that have been charged-off
  • Judgments and/or Liens
  • Bankruptcy

This is the key information the loan officer needs to know before you complete your loan application. Keep in mind that derogatory items like late payments, collection accounts, and charge-offs can impact your credit rating for up to seven years, and a bankruptcy filing will be on your credit report for up to ten years.

Have your docs ready to go

One of the most significant delays to a fast mortgage approval is obtaining the required documentation from a loan applicant in a timely manner. Knowing what documents you need to purchase a home only takes a few minutes to review.

If your documentation is electronic, set up a folder on your computer with the documents you need to send to the loan officer. If you have paper copies, create a file folder with your documents and consider scanning them to your computer. Electronic processing is much faster when getting a fast mortgage approval.

Do You have a question or need a quote?

Contact Kevin

Low rates, fast closings, and exceptional service.

Choose an experienced loan officer

Don’t underestimate the importance of this pre-application tip. An experienced loan officer knows how to get a fast mortgage approval. Stay away from loan officers who are new to the industry. I suggest you work with a loan officer with at least five years of mortgage industry experience.

You can look up the number of years a loan officer has been in the mortgage industry by visiting the NMLS website. You can visit the loan officer’s website to get their NMLS number or simply ask the loan officer for the number. Another way to get a loan officer’s NMLS number is to have them send you an email. Loan officers are required to include the number in all of their email correspondence.

You’ll also want to ensure the loan officer works for a highly-rated company. Check with the Better Business Bureau and online resources like Zillow, Yelp, and Google.

Reasons Why You Need An Experienced Loan Officer

An experienced loan officer will know the fastest way to get your file approved with underwriting, especially for those who are self-employed or retired. These files require more work and knowledge; you’ll find that with an experienced loan officer.

Also, an experienced loan officer might have a personal relationship with the underwriter. This can go a long way, especially if the file has potential issues.

Time to complete the online application

You’ve followed the four pre-application tips for a fast mortgage approval, so now you are ready to move forward.

Most banks, mortgage brokers, and lenders have an online mortgage application that you can access 24/7. It’s much quicker to complete the application online instead of hand-completing it or scheduling a time to complete it with a loan officer.

The information needed is fairly straightforward; an applicant can usually finish the application in ten to fifteen minutes. When you complete an online application, you’ll need to provide the following information:

  • Personal information such as your name, address, social security number, and more.
  • Employment information
  • A breakdown of your liquid assets
  • Loan declarations

Once you’ve completed the above, you’re ready to submit your online application to the loan officer. Your loan officer should follow up within 24-48 hrs to let you know they’ve received the application.

What happens next?

After receiving your loan application, the loan officer will follow up to let you know what documentation they need to submit your file to underwriting. What the loan officer asks for will depend on the information listed in the loan application.

Once you provide the loan officer with the required documents, your file should go to underwriting within 24-48 hours.

Send In Exactly What’s Needed

When the loan officer requests documentation, send in exactly what is requested, not your interpretation of what’s needed. If you have questions, be sure to ask for clarification rather than just sending in an alternative to what is requested.

For example, when a loan officer requests your tax returns, don’t just send in a few pages of your tax return. Send in the entire tax return, all pages, even if you think it’s unnecessary. And don’t blackout any information because the loan officer will only request you resend the documentation with nothing blacked out.

If you receive a W-2 and the loan officer asks for last year’s W-2, don’t send in the first page of your tax return as an alternative. If you can’t locate your W-2, then reach out to your employer for a copy.

Another example is bank statements. Let’s say you are looking to buy a home and have money saved for a down payment and closing costs.

The loan officer will request copies of your two most recent bank statements where your funds for the down payment and closing costs are deposited. Ensure you send in exactly what the loan officer asks for, two months of statements.

All Pages Are Required

All pages of your financial document need to be included, even if they are blank. Not an activity summary or a screenshot of your account balance. Just send in exactly what’s asked for to put you on the right path for a fast mortgage approval.

If you are looking at a Bank Statement Mortgage, you’ll want to gather your most recent twelve or twenty-four months of bank statements. You’ll need to send in all pages, front and back of each page (even if it’s blank).

The bottom line on a fast mortgage approval

Being prepared is the key to a fast mortgage approval. With 17+ years in the mortgage industry, I can tell you from experience that things can move quickly when a client is prepared. The next key ingredient is working with an experienced loan officer at a top-rated mortgage company. This ensures you’re working with a team that can quickly approve your loan application and close your transaction.

And whenever you are asked for a document, always send the exact document the loan officer is requesting and make sure you send it over in a timely fashion.

Loan Officer Kevin O'Connor

About The Author

Loan Officer Kevin O'Connor has over 17 years of experience as a Mortgage Loan Originator and is a trusted resource for mortgage education and information. He's licensed by the state of California and the Nationwide Mortgage Licensing System. He has a top rating with the Better Business Bureau, Google, Yelp, and Zillow. You can contact him at 1-800-550-5538. CA DRE #01499872 / NMLS #247447