When you are making an offer, it is important to let the seller and listing agent know that you are prepared to buy the home. A mortgage pre-approval from the lender is the best way to do that.

Don’t get pre-approval confused with pre-qualification. Pre-qualification is merely an informal estimate of your income, assets and present debt to estimate the approximate price range you should be looking in for your new home. Pre-approval means the lender is prepared to offer you a loan of up to a certain amount based on your credit, employment, and income and has determined what loan program is the best fit for you.

The lender is going to need the following paperwork at the very least:

  • Asset and investment statements for at least the last two periods (months or quarters)
  • Bank account statements for at least the last two months 
  • Credit card statements (possibly) 
  • Auto loan statements (possibly – they may also glean what they need from your credit report) 
  • Pay stubs for the last two months 
  • Verification of other income sources 
  • Tax returns and W-2s for the past two years 
  • Form of ID 
  • Mortgage Application 

The lender may ask for additional documents, but this list will get you started. The lender will also do a credit check, so it is a good idea to clean up any issues you can before meeting with a lender. You can check your credit at all three credit bureaus for free each year at