First Time Home-Buyer Checklist

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Most sellers will not accept an offer on their home unless the potential buyer can provide them with a pre-approval letter or an approval letter from a lender. So if are unable to provide an approval or pre-approval letter, the seller will likely pass on your offer and choose a buyer that seems more financially stable. It's a very good idea to try to get approved, or at least pre-approved, for a home loan to avoid such a situation.

Here is a checklist of the basic paperwork you'll need to be prepared to show a lender when you're applying for a home loan:

  • Three months of bank statements
  • Two years of W2 statements
  • Your most recent pay stub (if you get paid twice a month, you'd need the last two pay stubs). If you are self-employed, you will need two years of tax returns*
  • 12 months of canceled checks (if you've been renting with a private landlord)
  • Your most recent pay stub, or tax returns if self-employed
  • Photo identification

*Some lenders may require more information/paperwork from you, so it's important to start the application process as soon as possible   and maintain constant contact with your potential lender*

Here are some additional tips to help you improve your chances of being approved for a home loan:

  • If you're renting, pay rent by check each month on time - lenders will look closely at your financial responsibility by looking at your payments
  • If you're renting, do not pay with cash, cashiers check, or any other form other than a personal check. Do not work out deals with the landlord to pay less one month in exchange for problems with the property.
  • Remember that bank statements can take weeks to be delivered; don't wait to order them.
  • Also make sure that your bank statements can show that you've had the full amount for the down payment in your bank account for at least 2-3 months
  • Keep additional funds in your bank account (reserves), if possible. This will show the lender that you will be able to make your payments even if you happen to lose your job, become injured, or otherwise have a loss in income.
  • Be prepared to show 2 valid forms of photo ID.

Following these tips will help a first-time homebuyer get through the mortgage application process with a little less difficulty and will also save loads of time. Remember, it is extremely important that you talk with your potential lender to make sure that you don't need any additional paperwork. You can also ask your JCL Realty agent who will have experience working with lenders in your area and can help you through the process.

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