How do I get pre-approved for a mortgage?

Mortgages can feel like a very overwhelming topic. It is common for buyers, especially first time buyers, to want to bypass the pre-approval process and go straight to finding the home of their dreams. I understand that it seems daunting and stressful to have to get your financial situation in order.

You’ve heard the old saying: How you eat an elephant? One bite at a time. So before you go falling in love with the home of your dreams, let’s start with baby bites towards a pre-approval so you can buy with confidence and ease. Here’s what you need to do.


Step 1: Talk to a lender.

You can read more about the different types of lenders that you can go to for a mortgage here.


Step 2: Fill out a mortgage application.

Most of the time this is done online now. It will ask you basic things like name, address, birthday, social security number, employment history, current employment situation, how much your adjusted gross income was last year, how many people in your family, etc.

From here, the lender will be able to assess what you’re telling them, check your credit score and determine if you MAY be able to qualify based on the information. If they say yes based on the information you gave them, this is a pre-qualification. It’s a good start but doesn’t hold any real weight when it comes to home buying. The lender needs to next verify what you’ve hold them with supporting documents.


Step 3: Send in supporting documents.

Here is a list of the common documents they will want to see if you are a W2 employee (not self-employed).

  1.  Driver’s License
  2.  Most recent 30 day paystubs
  3.  2015 and 2016 tax returns, all pages
  4.  2015 and 2016 W2’s
  5.  Most recent 60 days’ worth of checking and/or savings statements (be sure all pages are present even if they are blank, along with your banks name, full account number, and your name)


That’s it. They will be able to assess from your supporting documents whether you are a strong candidate for a mortgage right now or perhaps in the future.

AMANDA ADVICE: Keep in mind that this is a FREE process and pulling your credit score isn’t going to affect your score. I would encourage you to do this as early as possible so you know where you stand. See what your score is, if anything can be done to improve it and begin working on it now.

You don’t need to do anything with a pre-approval if you do get qualified if you aren’t ready to buy now. Or maybe you aren’t qualified yet for the type of home you know you want. Doing this early gives you the opportunity to change things way in advance to get you qualified for the loan and home type that you want in the future.

It’s not as hard of a process as it initially feels like so start taking those baby bites today.