Home Loans 101

Published on February 25th, 2015

The Home Loan Grocery List of Documents

Everyone enters the home buying process with different expectations. Some buyers are excited while others are terrified, and some are confident in their decision, while others will second-guess themselves every step of the way. While the approach varies from one buyer to the next, the best way to enter into shopping for and buying a home is to be prepared.

There are specific documents and questions that if you have them at the ready, this process may not only be easier, but also less painful. So where do you start? Most begin with setting up a meeting with a Loan Officer to get pre-approved for a home loan and set a budget. After that is decided, you get to shop… This is the fun part.

After the shopping is over and you’ve made a decision, then you have to sit down with a Loan Officer and see which loan option is best for you. However, in order to ease this process you may want to have the following documents ready to fire away:

  • Photo ID: Your driver’s license or passport will be necessary when you’re meeting with a lender. They need to know that you are who you claim to be. They also need this information so they can check into your financial background.

  • Paycheck Stubs: Lenders will want proof that borrowers have a steady income, before approving a loan application. It’s best to start with having a copy of your paystub at the ready so they can see exactly what you bring in every month.

  • Federal Tax Returns: A copy of your tax returns from at least the past two years will show a lender exactly what you’ve been earning and display the consistency of your work history.

  • Bank Statements: While a lender can see what you’ve been making, your bank statements from the past couple months will give them a clear, overall view of your financial background.

  • W-2’s: Please make sure you hang on to these if you’re thinking about buying home. Lenders will want to view these.

  • Student Loan Paperwork: If you have student loans, you’ll want to bring a current statement of the loan, or documentation that reflects deferment or forbearance (if you’ve enacted either of those options). This will give a lender an idea of your debt-to-income ratio and help in setting a budget for pre-approval.

  • Other documents: While you may feel like you’ve already spread your life across the Loan Officer’s desk, if you have ever declared bankruptcy, you will also need that documentation. If you’ve been divorced, you need to bring in the divorce decree. And, if you’re a veteran, you will need the necessary documentation to prove that you served and can live off-base as well.


While the list of necessary documents seems long, asking a lot of questions will help you understand the legal terminology of the loan documents and offer more control over this process. We understand that every buyer is different and their questions will vary with their backgrounds. Questions are expected, so don’t hold back. If you’re thinking about financing a home or are looking to get pre-approved, the best place to start is by speaking with a knowledgeable mortgage professional. Our Housing Buzz Specialists are here to help, so do not hesitate to reach out and schedule a free consultation today.

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