How can I get a mortgage?

Guide to getting a home loan

Embarking on the journey of homeownership is an exciting endeavor, and understanding how to get a home loan is a crucial first step. Whether you’re a first-time buyer or looking to invest in a new property, securing a mortgage is essential to turn those dreams into reality. Navigating the process of mortgage application might seem daunting, but with the right guidance, it’s entirely achievable.

We’ll review everything you need to know about getting a mortgage, from preparing your financial documentation to selecting the right lender for you. Keep reading to dive deeper into the process and learn how you could even apply for a mortgage pre-approval, setting you on the path to acquiring your dream home.

Which documents do I need to get a mortgage?

When you’re on the journey to owning your dream home, understanding how to get a home loan is crucial. The process involves several steps, and one of the key aspects is gathering the necessary documentation. Without the right paperwork, securing a mortgage can become a more challenging task. Let’s dive into the documents you’ll need to have ready.

Legal Status

Keep in mind that additional documentation may be necessary, but proving  usually means providing:

  • A government-issued photo ID (like a driver’s license or passport)
  • Social Security card or number
  • Proof of legal residence if you’re not a U.S. citizen

Income Verification

Lenders will assess your financial stability and ability to repay the loan. For this, you’ll need:

  • Recent pay stubs (usually the last two months)
  • W-2 forms or 1099 forms from the past two years
  • Bank statements (to verify your savings and cash flow)
  • Tax returns from the last two years

If you’re self-employed or have non-traditional income sources, be prepared to provide additional documentation, such as profit and loss statements or other financial records that prove your income.

Existing Debts & Assets

This includes:

  • Credit report (though the lender will usually pull this themselves)
  • Loan statements for existing loans and mortgages
  • Investment records to show assets besides cash

Collecting these documents might seem overwhelming, but they’re essential for lenders to assess your mortgage application. Being prepared with the right paperwork smoothens the path to securing your home loan, bringing you one step closer to holding the keys to your dream home.

Which factors matter most to mortgage lenders?

When it comes to securing a home loan, understanding what mortgage lenders look for can significantly improve your chances of approval. The dream of owning a home can quickly become overwhelming once the application process begins, but knowing the key factors lenders consider can simplify things.

Here, we delve into the aspects of personal finance that matter most to mortgage lenders, guiding you on how to get a home loan.

Credit Score

First and foremost, your credit score is like your financial report card, and lenders pay a lot of attention to it. A high credit score suggests that you’re a responsible borrower, which can lead to better interest rates and loan terms. Keep in mind, though, that different lenders have different criteria, so even if your credit score isn’t perfect, there may still be options available to you.


Lenders want to know that you have a steady income to cover your monthly mortgage payments alongside your other expenses. Be prepared to show proof of income through pay stubs, tax returns, and any other documentation that verifies your earnings. Your income stability and potential for future earnings will be under scrutiny to ensure that lending to you isn’t a risk.

Debt-to-income ratio (DTI)

This is where your existing debts come into play. Your DTI ratio is a comparison of your monthly debt payments to your monthly income. Lenders use this ratio to gauge your ability to manage monthly payments and repay debts. A lower DTI ratio is more favorable as it indicates that you are not overly burdened by debt.

Employment History

Consistency is key here. Lenders prefer borrowers with a stable job history because it suggests financial stability. Frequent job changes or gaps in employment can be red flags that might warrant further explanation during the application process.

Down Payment

The amount of money you can put down on your home directly affects the risk level for the lender. A larger down payment means you’re borrowing less and you have more at stake in the property, which can lead to better loan conditions. Plus, if you can put down 20% or more, you can avoid paying for private mortgage insurance (PMI), saving you money over the life of your loan.

Savings and Assets

Finally, lenders will look at your savings and other assets. The more you have in reserves, the more confident a lender will be in your ability to cover mortgage payments, even if you encounter financial difficulties down the road.

When planning for a home loan, it’s vital to position yourself as a low-risk borrower by maintaining a good credit score, showing stable income, managing your debts wisely, and saving for a sizeable down payment. While this might require some time and financial discipline, it’s the best way to improve your attractiveness to mortgage lenders and make your dream home a reality.

What are the steps to get a mortgage loan?

Securing a mortgage loan might seem like a daunting process, but breaking it down into clear steps can make it more manageable. Whether you’re a first-time homebuyer or looking to refinance, follow these essential steps to get you closer to holding those keys in your hand.

  1. Check Your Credit Score

    Your credit score is the gatekeeper to getting a good mortgage. Lenders use it to determine your loan eligibility and interest rates. The higher your score, the better the terms you’ll receive. Before applying, check your credit score and make any necessary improvements.
  2. Determine Your Budget

    Knowing how much you can afford is crucial before house hunting. Use mortgage calculators to estimate your monthly mortgage payments. Remember, your budget should include other expenses like property taxes, homeowners insurance, and possibly homeowners association fees.
  3. Gather Your Documents

    Lenders will require a lot of paperwork, including tax returns, pay stubs, bank statements, and more. Having these documents ready can speed up the approval process.
  4. Get Pre-Approved

    mortgage pre-approval gives you an idea of what you can borrow and shows sellers you’re serious about buying. It involves submitting your financial information to a lender, who will then tell you how much they’re willing to lend.
  5. Shop for Your Home Loan

    Don’t just settle for the first loan offer. Compare rates, fees, and terms from multiple lenders to ensure you’re getting the best deal possible.
  6. Submit Your Application

    Once you’ve chosen a lender, complete your application. Be prepared for more document requests and questions.
  7. Close on Your Loan

    After your application is approved, you’ll go to closing, which involves signing a lot of paperwork, but it ends with you getting the keys to your new home.

How can I start my journey to a mortgage?

Getting pre-approved for a mortgage is a crucial step toward buying a home. Start by checking your credit score, as it affects your eligibility and loan rates. Gather essential documents like pay stubs, tax returns, and bank statements to ease the process.

Once you’re ready, you can apply online with Owning to get the process started. The mortgage you need to help you afford the home that you want is closer than you think!

Applicant subject to credit and underwriting approval. Not all applicants will be approved for financing. Receipt of application does not represent an approval for financing or interest rate guarantee. Restrictions may apply, contact Owning for current rates and for more information.

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