Buyers: Get Your Paperwork Ready

Spring is the busiest time of year in the real estate market. Now is the time when many families with children begin looking at homes for sale so that they can move in between school years. In fact, there may be so many buyers that you’ll be faced with stiff competition. When you’re getting ready to buy in the spring, it’s essential that you’re prepared. When you have your paperwork together, you’ll be able to make an offer more quickly and possibly even close the deal sooner. This will make you a more attractive buyer and more likely to have your offer accepted. Get a head start by gathering the paperwork you’ll need to have ready when you buy a home.

Tax documents

When you’re buying a home, lenders will be gathering information about your finances. This includes at least two years of tax returns. Lenders use this information to verify the income you report. If your income has changed considerably over the last couple of years, be prepared to explain why and provide documentation.

Proof of income

Do you have the money to the buy the home? Lenders will want to see at least one month’s worth of pay stubs. This gives a greater picture of your financial health than just your tax documents alone. If you have any other sources of income, like child support or self-employment income, then be prepared to provide proof of these as well.

Employment information

Compile a list of all your employers for the last two years. Include company names, addresses, names of your current and former bosses or the human resources department, and contact information.

Financial statements

You’ll need to show up to two month’s worth of important financial statements for checking and savings accounts, CDs, stocks, bonds, and IRAs. You’ll also need to show where your down payment money is coming from.

Earnest money information

When you make an offer on a home you’ll be submitting earnest money. Have documentation ready that shows where the earnest money is coming from. If the money is a gift, then you will need a letter from the person who is giving the gift, usually a family member.

Residential history

Have a record on hand of at least two years of residential history including addresses, names and contact information for landlords.

Credit report

Lenders will pull your credit report, but you should definitely get a copy for yourself. This will alert you if there are any errors on your report so that you can have them fixed before applying for a home loan.

Debt information

Do you have any other loans? This includes car loans, mortgages, credit card debts, or student loans. Gather statements for each debt to show your remaining balances and gather account numbers and contact information for each lender.

Property ownership documents

Do you currently own a home or have you owned one in the past? Then be ready to show proof of property ownership or documents related to the sale of the home.

Photo identification

Finally, make sure you have a current photo ID, such as a driver’s license, so that your identity can be verified.

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