Before Meeting with a Lender
Examine your credit report – you are entitled to one free credit report each year from each of the three reporting agencies. Make note of any late payments, which can lower your FICO score. But, even with a low FICO score it’s still likely you can get an FHA loan. An FHA loan does not rely on FICO scores and requires lower down payments.
The lender will also need a verification form filled out by your employer, so it is best to let your employer know ahead of time to expect the form. See if your human resources personnel can get the form completed and returned right away.
Documentation Needed to Buy a Home
Your lender may want the following paperwork from you:
- Current Pay Stubs. Your last two pay stubs will suffice. Make copies of everything, don’t give away your originals!
- W2s. Lenders generally want the last two years of W2s from both of you.
- Federal Tax Returns. If you haven’t yet filed your tax return for last year, then find the two previous years of tax returns, including all schedules. Tip: Make sure the tax returns are signed by you.
- Bank Statements. Some lenders want two months, while others will demand the last three months of bank statements. Make a copy from each lending institution. Include every page of each bank statement.
- Asset Statements. If you own stocks, bonds, mutual funds or retirement accounts, make a copy of each statement. Lenders prefer hard copies over those printed online but will accept online statements if that’s how you receive them.
- Copy of Current Driver’s License. If you are meeting with the lender in person, you can bring your driver’s license with you for identification and reproduction. Otherwise, copy your license on a scanner or copy machine and include it. Your license should have a photograph of you.
- Ask About Upfront Costs. Many lenders will request a credit report fee, but some do not. Generally, appraisal and credit report fees are paid in advance when you are ready to accept the loan. Do not pay any fees to a lender until you have elected to use that lender.