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Create a loan application packet

In the Explore loan choices phase, you talk with several lenders to get acquainted. You’ll need to give these lenders some information about your finances. It’s best to gather this information now, so you have it ready at your fingertips.

What to do now

Gather your personal and financial information

  • Pay stub for the last 30 days
  • W-2 forms for the last two years
  • Signed federal tax return for the last two years
  • Documentation of other sources of income
  • Bank statements, two most recent
  • Documentation of the source of your down payment: investment or savings account statements showing at least two months’ history of ownership (if some of the money was a gift, get a signed statement from the giver stating that it was a gift)
  • Documentation of name change, if recent
  • Proof of your identity (typically a drivers’ license or non-driver ID)
  • Social Security number
  • Certificate of housing counseling or home buyer education, if you have one

One way to make sure you have collected the information lenders require is to start with the Fannie Mae Form 1003 and fill it out. It’s a commonly used form, and even if your loan or lender ultimately has different requirements, it can be a good starting point.

Servicemembers or veterans should obtain a certificate of eligibility from the VA

The VA’s Home Loan Guarantee Program is a good option for veterans and servicemembers to consider, and you need this certificate if you decide to go that route.

What to know

Some lenders have technology to automate document collection

Automated document collection could mean the lender requests account information directly from banks or businesses to check your income or employment. Automation can make the process smoother. Still, it is your choice whether and when to allow a lender to access your information. Here are tips to consider as you decide whether to share your financial data.

The more organized you are, the faster the loan approval process is likely to be

Make sure your documents are accurate and complete.

Your lenders use the information you provide to decide how much they are willing to lend you at what interest rate. If your information is inaccurate, you could encounter costly surprises down the road. If your documents are incomplete, lenders may reject them.

  • Make sure to include every page of multi-page documents, even ones marked “intentionally left blank.”
  • Make sure when printing online documents that the full URL is included on the bottom of each page.

Chances are, you'll need to update your loan application packet at least once during this process

Lenders like to see the most recent bank statements, pay stubs, etc. If you access these items online, write a reminder to yourself on how to find the information again so you can update your packet easily.

If you are self-employed or have irregular or nonwage income, you may need additional documentation

Requirements vary from lender to lender and depending on your specific situation. Share your situation when you meet with loan officers or a housing counselor and ask what kind of documentation you need.

Visit our sources page to learn more about the facts and numbers we reference.

The process and forms described on this page reflect mortgage regulations that apply to most mortgages.