Tips for Getting Approved for a Mortgage

MortgageShopping for a mortgage is a huge step on your road to homeownership. There are many factors that go into applying for a mortgage and getting approved to buy the home of your dreams. However, there are many things that you can do now to prepare for the process and help increase your odds of receiving approval for your purchase.

Know and manage your credit score

Just like any other line of credit, one of the biggest factors that go into receiving a decision from a lender is a review of your credit score. Now is a good time to proactively review your credit history and look for any potential blemishes or problems. You can receive a free report of your credit score annually from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau at Many credit card companies, banks and credit unions can also provide this information for you, as well as make recommendations on ways to improve your score.

Get your paperwork prepared

As part of the approval process, you will need to provide accurate reporting of your income and financial security. Most lenders will want to see copies of your tax returns for at least the last two years, as well as several paystubs or W2 forms proving your income levels. If you receive any other form of income, such as child support or Social Security benefits, make sure to have documentation of those payments as well. Getting this ready in advance can take some of the stress and hassle out of the application process.

Put off unnecessary purchases

Another aspect of the mortgage review is looking at your debt and spending history. Try to avoid large expenses or adding any debt while you are preparing for your mortgage application. Even better, if you can pay down some of your debts in advance of filing your application, it will improve your credit to income ratio, which plays a role in both how much of a mortgage you can be approved for and how much home you’ll be able to afford. One less expense today can lead to extra space tomorrow.

Have your down payment ready

Nearly every mortgage will require borrowers have a down payment that they pay as part of the purchase. FHA-backed mortgages require at least a 3.5 percent down payment, while most mortgages with a less than 20 percent down payment will require private mortgage insurance, which is an extra monthly expense. has a breakdown of some of the advantages and drawbacks of different down payment amounts on its website.

With good planning and follow through, the mortgage process can be easily navigated and handled. By ensuring you have everything in order, you’ll be able to more quickly receive your pre-approval and be well on your way to landing the perfect home.

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