Five Things You Need Before You Talk to a Mortgage Lender

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If you’re considering buying a home, one of the first things you should do is talk to a mortgage lender. You’ll be able to discuss the best mortgage options available for your circumstances and begin the pre-qualification process. As a way to streamline this process, be sure to have the following ready before you talk to your mortgage lender:

  • State Identification and Social Security number. Every mortgage lender will need to see state identification, such as a copy of your driver’s license, and your Social Security number to pull your credit report.
  • Verification of income. Depending on your employment situation, you’ll be required to present any or all of the following to your mortgage lender:
    • W-2 statements from the past two years
    • Recent pay stubs that show income as well as year-to-date income
    • Proof of any additional income used for loan qualification
    • Tax returns from the past two years

    If you’re self-employed, you may need to provide additional information to qualify for a mortgage – be sure to ask about your specific situation.

  • Verification of employment. Your lender will not only want to see copies of your paycheck stubs but will usually call your employer to verify employment and your current salary. If you’ve recently changed jobs, your lender may contact your previous employer as well. If you’re self-employed, you should prepare additional documentation about your business and income, such as financial statements and tax returns.
  • Copies of asset statements. Mortgage lenders will need to review your bank and investment account statements (usually for the past several months) to make sure you’ll have the funds available for a down payment and your closing costs – often with some cash remaining. If a relative or friend is planning to help you with the down payment, you’ll need a letter explaining that the money provided is a gift, not a loan.
  • Strong credit score. The higher your credit score, the more likely you’ll be able to lock in the lowest rate available from your lender – and save thousands of dollars over the life of the loan. Check out your credit score before you talk to your lender so you’ll have an idea of what to expect and can plan accordingly. Simply visit for your free credit score to get started.

Being prepared with the information you need is the best way to begin the mortgage buying process. At BancorpSouth, our mortgage lenders will help guide you through each step. If you have questions about any requested information, don’t hesitate to ask – make sure you understand why the information is needed as well.