Mortgage 101: Why Pre-Approval is Your First Step

Mar 25 2021

Little by little, you’ve saved up for your dream. You’ve sacrificed dinner out for penny pinching and spent Saturday afternoons drafting up the list of amenities you hope to have in your soon-to-be new home.
Homebuyer is handed keys at closing

The time has finally come: you’re ready to pull the trigger. Congratulations!

The first step to ultimately getting the keys to your new home is getting pre-approved for your mortgage. Follow this guideline for an easy road to pre-approval.

Step 1: Determine your budget

Once you’ve decided on the type of home you want, where you want to live and your wish list of features, it’s time to set your budget. The online calculator takes into account what you can afford, additional mortgage costs, loan information and your state and federal tax rate to help determine your maximum budget.

(If you’re not comfortable determining a budget on your own, your mortgage lender will be happy to help.)

Step 2: Gather your documents

In order to apply, you’ll typically need the following information:

  • Residence history for the past 2 years
  • Employer name(s), job title and dates of employment for the past 2 years
  • Current pay stubs covering a full, 30-day period
  • W-2s for the past 2 years (and 1099s and K1s, if applicable)
  • Federal tax returns for the past 2 years – all pages and schedules and business tax returns (25 percent or more ownership), if self-employed

Step 3: Apply online or in-person

Once you’ve gathered the necessary documents, it’s time to choose a trusted mortgage expert near you. After choosing a lender, you can apply online or schedule an in-person appointment to get pre-approved.

What’s next?

After submitting your pre-approval application, your lender will follow-up with a phone call or email as soon as possible. Don’t hesitate to reach out with questions throughout the process.

Tips for success

During the pre-approval process, your full credit report will be pulled. Follow these tips to ensure your credit score and history are in their prime.

  • Make bill and credit card payments on time.
  • Avoid applying for additional credit or making any significant purchases on credit.
  • Keep your credit card balance below 30 to 50 percent of the card limit.

Get pre-approved

Find your lender today.

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