One of the first and most important steps you will need to take if you are considering buying real estate is getting pre-qualified for your mortgage.  This is important for many reasons, but the 2 most important are:

  1. You want to be clear about what you can afford to buy.  If you look at things that are out of your price range and fall in love with it, nothing else will measure up.
     
  2. When you are ready to actually make your offer your Realtor will want to include a letter from your lender that says you have been pre-qualified.  This will make your offer a stronger offer.  The seller will know you are serious and have taken the time to talk with your lender and get the ball rolling!

What will you need to have on hand when you call your lender?  The things your lender will want to know are as follows:

  • What is your income?  How long have you been in that job?  (If you are dual income have this information for all income earners)
  • Do you have income from any other sources?
  • What are your current obligations? (for example: credit card debt, car payments, child support, etc.)
  • How much money do you have saved for a down payment and closing costs?

This should be enough to get the pre-qualification letter.  The more information you can provide your lender the better!  When it comes to the time you make actual application for a loan on a specific property, you will need to provide much more information.  Some of the documentation they will need at that point will be copies of recent bank statements and copies of at least 2 years tax returns.

Another important thing you need to remember is to be completely honest with your lender.  This will make the process smoother.  Think of your lender as one of your partners in this transaction!