Once you find a home that meets your preferences, needs and budget (and the seller accepts your offer, of course!), it’s time to apply for your loan.
You’ll need to select a lender and complete an application. Depending on the lender, you may be able to apply in person, by phone or online. All lenders require you to provide information about yourself and anyone else, such as a spouse or partner, who will be listed as a co-borrower on the mortgage.
What you’ll need
You and your co-borrower, if you have one, will need to provide your lender with documentation to verify your employment history, creditworthiness and overall financial situation. Before completing an application, you’ll want to ensure you have these 6 things:
- W-2s (for the last 2 years)
- Recent pay stubs (covering the most recent 30 days)
- Complete bank statements for all financial accounts, including investments (for the last 2 months)
- Signed personal and business tax returns (all pages and relevant schedules)
- If self-employed, a copy of most recent quarterly or year-to-date profit/loss statement
- A copy of the signed Purchase and Sales Agreement
Your lender may require more documents, depending on your circumstances and the type of mortgage for which you’re applying. You can expect your lender to ask you details about your employment and financial history. With your permission, your lender will also run your credit report as part of the process. See how your credit score can affect your interest rate
Be sure to take your time and carefully fill out the application as completely and accurately as possible. Not disclosing credit problems up-front or holding back requested documents will only delay the process and potentially prevent mortgage approval, so it’s to your benefit to fully disclose everything about your finances.
Locking in your interest rate
Since interest rates fluctuate frequently, things can change between the day you apply for your loan and the day you close. If you want to protect yourself against rising interest rates and ensure that the loan terms you used to build your budget are locked, you might consider locking in your rate with your lender when you fill out your loan application.
A rate lock, also known as a rate commitment, is your lender’s assurance that the interest rate and discount points are guaranteed until the rate lock expiration date. The lender will provide the terms of the rate lock to you in writing, including the agreed-upon interest rate, the length of the lock and any discount points you choose to pay. Learn more about discount points
Of course, if you believe that interest rates will decrease in the near future, waiting to lock your rate may make sense to you. In the end, it’s a personal choice when to lock your rate. The rate must be locked prior to the lender preparing your closing documents. Talk to your lender about the choice that best suits your needs and your preferences.