Buying your first home is an emotional and exciting process. There is a lot that goes into the journey towards being able to call a place your own. You do your research and compare what seems like endless options, looking for all the things you have always dreamed of having in your first property. With everything that’s going on and with all the excitement, it can be easy to forget one of the most important parts of the whole process, getting pre-qualification for a mortgage.
The pre-qualification process is a critical step in the journey to home ownership. Acquiring this before going to view any home will put you ahead of the game. This is your affirmation to the selling agent that you are coming to the table with the intent to buy a home and have the ability to do so.
So, what are some things you can start putting together to get ready for the pre-qualification process? Essentially what a lender is looking for is a sense of your ability to make the established monthly payments for the mortgage without any distress. They want to make sure they can trust you to come through on your end of the deal without coming under any hardships. While all the details will be worked out later on down the road, at your first meeting it will generally be a good idea to bring the following:
- ID and Social Security. Fairly standard to any other transaction of some consequence, the lender will look to verify your identity. They will also be pulling your credit score from the big three agencies, so they will need this information. If you are going into a pre-qualification meeting, it is always a good idea to bring photo identification and your Social Security Card.
- Proof of Income. This will usually take the form of two recent pay stubs. The lender will want to see that you have a steady stream of income which is sufficient to cover the payments. If you get direct deposit, try to ask your employer to get you a copy of the actual check details.
- Tax documents. While one year may be enough in some situations, it is generally best two bring the printed returns for each person who will be listed on the mortgage.
- Bank statements. While the previous information will be used to determine your ability to make your payments, there is still the small matter of the down payment and closing costs. First time buyers tend to underestimate these, so the lender wants to make sure you have enough right now to cover them. Bring any recent bank statements showing your balances in your checking, savings, money market or other accessible accounts.
- Expenses. Your income and savings are only one side of the equation for your available funds. You have a life to live and the lender needs to see what you are already paying. While big things like outstanding student loans will come up in the credit check, brining in things like your current lease and other monthly payments you make will allow them to gauge how much more you can take on.
The process can seem daunting, but just breathe! This is an important step in the process and it is in your best interest. The lender is trying to help you with the process to make sure that you get the home you want with a payment plan that will allow you to afford it within reason. At Mechanics Cooperative Bank, our lenders are specialists with over 100 years of experience in putting buyers into the homes of their dreams. When you are ready to speak with someone about the home buying process, be sure to give us a call or stop by and see what we can do to help you!