Key takeaway

Gathering important information, such as tax returns and W-2 forms, can help you get ready to apply for a mortgage. You may be able to submit most of your information electronically.

During the homebuying process, your lender will need financial and personal information about you. The amount of information could be different for each step. Many lenders offer an online portal where they can keep track of the documents you’ve uploaded.

Knowing the documents you may need to provide can help make the mortgage application process go more smoothly. Here’s what to gather.

Key documents in the homebuying process

Review the list

Key financial and identification documents used during the homebuying process

  1. Photo ID such as a driver’s license or passport
  2. Social Security number, via your Social Security card or other documents
  3. Bank statements: A recent statement for each checking and savings account you have
  4. Credit report: At different stages in the homebuying process, your lender will ask for your permission to pull your credit. A lender’s version of your credit report is different than the version you have access to, but even your version can still give you a good sense of what’s on your report and help you address any inaccurate information.
  5. Tax returns from the last two or three years. You may need to provide a signed Form 4506-T, which gives the lender permission to get the information directly from the IRS.
  6. Proof of income, including W-2s (likely for the last two years) and pay stubs (likely for the previous 30 days). If you’re self-employed, be prepared to share information about your business’s profits and losses.
  7. Other financial statements: If you have investment accounts or life insurance, have those statements or policies handy
  8. Contact information of your recent employers so the lender can check your employment status
  9. Purchase agreement that you and the seller have signed, detailing terms of the proposed sale and information about the property
  10. Gift letters: If anyone is planning to give you money to help with your down payment or other costs, you will need to provide a letter explaining that the source of the money is a gift.
  11. Rental history: If this is your first home purchase, lenders may ask to see a 12-month history of your rent payments

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