Documents You Need For Mortgage PreApproval A Checklist For Each Type Of Loan

Dated: 04/11/2019

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Documents You Need for Mortgage Pre-Approval: A Checklist for Each Type of Loan

Whether you're self-employed or applying for an FHA or USDA loan, here's the pre-approval paperwork you need.

If you're serious about buying a home, getting pre-approved for a mortgage is a critical step. It’s also a tedious one. Lenders seem to want a mountain of documents and have so many {{ start_tip 124 }}requirements.{{ end_tip }}

Yet the payoff is worth it. Most agents recommend mortgage pre-approval because it strengthens your offer. Sellers like to know the buyer already has financing secured.

Plus, you're going to need that same hefty stack of paperwork for your official mortgage application once you've got a contract on a home, so you're really knocking out two tasks at once.

To help, we've created a documents checklist for each type of mortgage pre-approval. Warning: Some lists are longer than others:

Conventional Loan | FHA Loan | Buying an Investment Property | If You're Self-Employed | VA Loan | USDA Loan | Job-Based Incentive Loan

 Conventional Loan Documents

[Download the printable version]

If you're employed and get regular paychecks, plus a W-2 every year, and you're not going through FHA, USDA, or an incentive-buying program, these are the documents you need to apply for mortgage pre-approval:

  • Identification (one of these, which you will need to show in person)

    1. Driver's license

    2. Passport

    3. Other state- or federal-issued ID

  • Income

    1. Pay stubs for the last 30 days

    2. Last two federal tax returns

    3. Last two W-2s

    4. Proof of any additional income (second jobs, social security, alimony, etc.)

  • Accounts

    1. Last two statements on all bank accounts — be sure to include all pages, even blank ones

    2. Statements for all investment and/or retirement accounts

  • Property

    1. Settlement statement from previous home sale, if applicable

  • Additional documents

    1. Contact information for your landlord(s) for the last two years, if applicable

    2. Divorce decree, separation agreement, and/or property settlement agreement, if applicable

    3. Gift letter if a family member is helping with down payment (lender will have form)

    4. A letter of explanation (LOE) for late payments, collections, judgments, or other derogatory items in your credit history, if applicable

FHA Loan Documents


If you're applying for mortgage pre-approval with the Federal Housing Administration, you'll need these documents:

  • Identification (one of these, which you will need to show in person)

    1. Driver's license

    2. Passport

    3. Other state- or federal-issued ID

  • Income

    1. Pay stubs for the last 30 days, if applicable

    2. Last two federal tax returns

    3. Last two W-2s or 1099s, if applicable

    4. Proof of any additional income (second jobs, social security, alimony, etc.)

  • Accounts

    1. Last two statements on all bank accounts — be sure to include all pages, even blank ones

      1. Statements for all investment and/or retirement accounts

  • Property

    1. Closing disclosure (or HUD-1 if the sale took place before Oct. 3, 2015) for previous purchase

  • Additional documents

    1. Contact information for your landlord(s) for the last two years, if applicable

    2. Divorce decree, separation agreement, and/or property settlement agreement, if applicable

    3. Gift letter if a family member is helping with down payment (lender will have form)

    4. A letter of explanation (LOE) for late payments, collections, judgments, or other derogatory items in your credit history, if applicable

Documents For Buying an Investment Property


If you're buying a property you plan to rent, these are the documents you should have in hand to apply for pre-approval:

  • Identification (one of these, which you will need to show in person)

    1. Driver's license

    2. Passport

    3. Other state- or federal-issued ID

  • Income

    1. Pay stubs for the last 30 days, if applicable

    2. Last two federal tax returns

    3. Last two W-2s or 1099s, if applicable

    4. Proof of any additional income (second jobs, social security, alimony, etc.)

  • Accounts

    1. Last two statements on all bank accounts — be sure to include all pages, even blank ones

    2. Statements for all investment and/or retirement accounts

  • Property

    1. Settlement statement on any recent home sales

    2. Recent mortgage statements on all properties you own

    3. Proof of insurance for all properties you own

    4. Current leases for all rental properties you own

  • Additional documents

    1. Contact information for your landlord(s) for the last two years, if applicable

    2. Divorce decree, separation agreement, and/or property settlement agreement, if applicable

    3. Gift letter if a family member is helping with down payment (lender will have form)

    4. A letter of explanation (LOE) for late payments, collections, judgments, or other derogatory items in your credit history, if applicable

Self-Employed or Business-Owner Mortgage Documents


If you're self-employed or own a business, these are the documents you need for the mortgage pre-approval process:

  • Identification (one of these, which you will need to show in person)

    1. Driver's license

    2. Passport

    3. Other state- or federal-issued ID

  • Income

    1. Pay stubs for the last 30 days, if applicable

    2. Last two federal tax returns

    3. Last two 1099s

    4. Proof of any additional income (second jobs, social security, alimony, etc.)

  • Accounts

    1. Last two statements on all bank accounts — be sure to include all pages, even blank ones

    2. Statements for all investment and/or retirement accounts

    3. Last two years' Corporate, S-Corp, LLC, or partnership tax returns

    4. Last two years' 1099s, if applicable

  • Property

    1. Settlement statement from previous home sale, if applicable

  • Additional documents

    1. Contact information for your landlord(s) for the last two years, if applicable

    2. Divorce decree, separation agreement, and/or property settlement agreement, if applicable

    3. Gift letter if a family member is helping with down payment (lender will have form)

    4. A letter of explanation (LOE) for late payments, collections, judgments, or other derogatory items in your credit history, if applicable

    5. Last two months' profit-and-loss statements (you can put one together in about five minutes)

    6. Balance sheet, if applicable (rules vary by state)

    7. Current business license

VA Loan Documents


If you're seeking pre-approval for a Veteran's Administration home loan, these are the documents you will need:

  • Identification (one of these, which you will need to show in person)

    1. Driver's license

    2. Passport

    3. Other state- or federal-issued ID

  • Income

    1. Pay stubs for the last 30 days, if applicable

    2. Last two federal tax returns

    3. Last two W-2s or 1099s, if applicable

    4. Proof of any additional income (second jobs, social security, alimony, etc.)

  • Accounts

    1. Last two statements on all bank accounts — be sure to include all pages, even blank ones

    2. Statements for all investment and/or retirement accounts

  • Property

    1. Settlement statement from previous home sale, if applicable

  • Additional documents

    1. Contact information for your landlord(s) for the last two years, if applicable

    2. Divorce decree, separation agreement, and/or property settlement agreement, if applicable

    3. A letter of explanation (LOE) for late payments, collections, judgments, or other derogatory items in your credit history, if applicable

    4. Certificate of eligibility (COE) from the Veteran's Administration, which may require one or more of these documents, depending on your situation:

      • Form DD-214, certificate of release or discharge

      • Statement of service from the adjutant, personnel office, commander, or higher headquarters if still on active duty

      • Form 26-1817 or form 21-534 for surviving spouses, plus form 1300, report of casualty, or death certificate

USDA Loan Documents


If you're applying for a U.S. Department of Agriculture Loan, you'll need these documents to seek pre-approval:

  • Identification (one of these, which you will need to show in person)

    1. Driver's license

    2. Passport

    3. Other state- or federal-issued ID

  • Income

    1. Pay stubs for the last 30 days, if applicable

    2. Last two federal tax returns

    3. Last two W-2s or 1099s, if applicable

    4. Proof of any additional income (second jobs, social security, alimony, etc.)

  • Accounts

    1. Last two statements on all bank accounts — be sure to include all pages, even blank ones

    2. Statements for all investment and/or retirement accounts

  • Property

    1. Settlement statement from previous home sale, if applicable

  • Additional documents

    1. Contact information for your landlord(s) for the last two years, if applicable

    2. Divorce decree, separation agreement, and/or property settlement agreement, if applicable

    3. Gift letter if a family member is helping with down payment (lender will have form)

    4. A letter of explanation (LOE) for late payments, collections, judgments, or other derogatory items in your credit history, if applicable

    5. Form 410-4: Uniform Residential Loan Application, filled out by applicant(s)

    6. Form 3550-4: Employment & Asset Certification, a separate form filled out and signed by each applicant

    7. Form 3550-1: Authorization to Release Information, a separate form filled out and signed by each applicant and each adult household member

    8. Form 4506-T: Request for Transcript of Tax Return, a separate form filled out by each applicant

    9. Documentation of child care expenses for dependents 12 or younger, if applicable

    10. Life insurance policy

    11. For any household member who is a full-time student 18 years of age or older, a current school transcript

    12. Annual medical expenses for applicants 62 years of age or older, or with a disability (to be considered for a deduction in household income)

    13. A written explanation of two years of employment history, including an explanation of gaps

Job-Based Incentive Loan Documents


Incentive-based programs — such as Good Neighbor Next Door, which provide mortgage assistance for public servants such as teachers, firefighters, police officers — have their own criteria. If you're seeking one of these mortgages, you will need these documents for pre-approval:

  • Identification (one of these, which you will need to show in person)

    1. Driver's license

    2. Passport

    3. Other state- or federal-issued ID

  • Income

    1. Pay stubs for the last 30 days, if applicable

    2. Last two federal tax returns

    3. Last two W-2s or 1099s, if applicable

    4. Proof of any additional income (second jobs, social security, alimony, etc.)

  • Accounts

    1. Last two statements on all bank accounts — be sure to include all pages, even blank ones

    2. Statements for all investment and/or retirement accounts

  • Property

    1. Settlement statement from previous home sale, if applicable

  • Additional documents

    1. Contact information for your landlord(s) for the last two years, if applicable

    2. Divorce decree, separation agreement, and/or property settlement agreement, if applicable

    3. Gift letter if a family member is helping with down payment (lender will have form)

    4. A letter of explanation (LOE) for late payments, collections, judgments, or other derogatory items in your credit history, if applicable

Related: "I Need 20% Down" and Other Myths About Mortgages

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Stacey Hawkins

Since the tender age of 8, I have always had an entrepreneurial spirit and a desire to serve my customers with the best service they can ever hope to experience. As an adult, that same spirit still li....

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