Mortgages & Creative Financing

Applying for a Mortgage Loan? Do These 3 Things Ahead of Time.

12 Articles Written

There’s no question that applying for a home loan can be a paperwork intensive process. If you're in the market to refinance or purchase a 1-4 unit residential property in the near future, the following are some good things to do ahead of time to help streamline and speed up the loan application process.

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1. Run your credit.

Credit plays a big role in qualifying for a home loan, so it’s important to check your credit report before you apply to make sure there aren’t any mistakes or inaccuracies that could hinder your chances of getting the loan.

You can obtain a copy of your credit report for free once a year from


2. Pull together a “real estate owned” spreadsheet.

If you own multiple properties, it will greatly streamline the loan application process if you pull together a spreadsheet ahead of time with the following information about the various properties you own:

  • Property address
  • Type of property (single-family, multi-unit, condo, etc.)
  • Disposition (rented, pending sale, or sold already)
  • Loan balance
  • Estimated market value
  • Gross monthly rent
  • Principal and interest mortgage payment
  • Annual taxes and insurance
  • Monthly mortgage insurance or HOA payment if applicable
  • Loan number and lender (for matching it up to your credit report)

Related: Investment Property Loans: The Ultimate Guide to Funding Your Deals

This information is required on the standard 1003 loan application, and your loan consultant will need to match properties to loans on your credit report. Putting this together ahead of time will save you and your loan consultant time and will help streamline the application process.


3. Gather up qualifying documentation.

Yes, there is a lot of paperwork that goes into a home loan. And yes, it can be kind of a pain to pull it all together. That’s why I recommend assembling it ahead of time and keeping it in a file you can grab quickly if you’re going to be applying for a loan in the near future.

Related: FHA Guidelines: How to Qualify for a 3.5% Down Loan

The following is what a lender will generally need from you to get the ball rolling on a new loan:

  • Full tax returns for the last two years for all borrowers
  • Last two years W2s (if applicable)
  • Most recent month’s worth of pay stubs (if applicable)
  • Last two months’ worth of statements for asset accounts (if the loan you’re applying for is for an investment property, the lender will need to document adequate reserves)
  • Recent mortgage statement for all properties you own (to verify the payment amounts)
  • First page of homeowner’s insurance policy (if a refinance) or contact information for the insurance company (if a purchase)
  • Purchase agreement and real estate agent contact information (if a purchase)

Additional documentation may be requested depending on your situation and qualifications, but this is typically the minimum needed.

If your tax returns are complex and you don’t have them pulled together in one place already, a good way to save yourself time is to have your loan consultant work directly with your accountant to get the needed documentation.

Any other documents you’d add to this list?

Let me know with a comment!

Mark Fitzpatrick is a Senior Loan Consultant with Lenox Financial Mortgage Corporation based in Irvine, Calif. I specialize in helping families and real estate investors reach their real estate goa...
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    Andrew Syrios Residential Real Estate Investor from Kansas City, MO
    Replied almost 4 years ago
    The more and better documentation you can provide up front, the better chance you’ll have, that’s for sure. It makes a difference to impress the loan officer rather than making them fight to get every last document from you.
    Glenn De Noble Investor from Amherst, New Hampshire
    Replied almost 4 years ago
    Latest real estate tax bills. A copy of your driver’s license or some type of photo ID.
    Account Closed
    Replied almost 4 years ago
    Very helpful article. Especially as a first time buyer, it’s good to have an outline of what to present for loans (can’t impress anyone by being disorganized)