What Does It Take To Get A Mortgage?
There’s no question, it’s a great time to get a mortgage.
Average rates on 30-year fixed-rate loans are around or under 3.75 percent (click here for current rates). If you are ready to buy a home, it may be savvy to peruse more information and act quickly to take advantage of the great lending rates.
Financial requirements for mortgage approval
Although lenders are increasingly willing to extend credit, the standards to get approved for a mortgage are high. Excluding FHA loans and some other special loan types, this is what you’ll need to get approved for your mortgage fast.
This shouldn’t be a surprise. When it comes to getting a mortgage, your credit score matters. Although you may get approved for a mortgage with a score in the 600s, a score of 720 or higher will get you the best rates and save you, quite literally, tens of thousands of dollars over your lifetime.
The smart way to buy a home is the old-fashioned way: With at least 20 percent down. You may be able to get an FHA loan requiring as little as 3.5 percent down or another unconventional loan with a reduced down payment, but considering money you’ll pay in private mortgage insurance, it may be smarter to wait until you have a bigger down payment…even if mortgage rates creep up in that time.
Cash on hand
Aside from the down payment, banks want to see that buying a home isn’t going to drain your account. And it’s good form to have an emergency fund leftover after all the closing costs (and moving expenses) are paid.
Next to your credit score, this is most important. The longer you’ve been at your job, the better. If you’re self-employed, prepare for a minor battle to get approved for your mortgage: Most lenders will want to see at least two years of tax returns and will figure your income as an average over the last two years which could potentially reduce the amount of financing for which you can qualify.
Records required for mortgage approval
Before you apply for a mortgage, you’ll need to gather the following documents:
- Social Security numbers and birthdates for all borrowers
- 24-month residence history
- 24-month employment history (need name, number and address of employer)
- Copies of pay stubs for last 60 days
- Copies of W-2 forms for last two years
- Bank statements and investment statements for last two or three months
- Evidence of homeowner’s insurance
- Address of the property you are purchasing or refinancing
- Purchase agreement (new home) or title documentation (refinance)
- If you are self-employed, copies of tax returns for the last two years