Getting the Loan
Different lenders have different requirements when you apply for a mortgage, but they all boil down to one theme: The lender wants to take a close look at your finances to make sure you can and will repay the loan.
The Internet makes this process faster and simpler than ever before, because your lenders can more easily check your financial information. Each lender has different needs when it comes to documentation. Typical requirements include your Social Security number; past tax returns and documentation; employment and credit information; a list of any bank, investment or other financial accounts; credit references, including past lenders and landlords; a list of any credit cards or loans in your name; and your permission to verify the information with lenders, creditors and other third parties. If you're married, the lender also will need the same information for your spouse.
If you haven't already checked your credit report, do it before you apply for pre-approval. If there are problems in your financial or credit history, you need to know about them before you start approaching lenders. And, if there are errors in your report, you can start the process of correcting them and mention them to your lender when you apply.
What's in a Payment?
Your mortgage payment has three main parts:
- Principal: The amount of your loan you're actually paying off.
- Interest: The interest charges on the remaining principal.
- Escrow: One month's worth of property taxes, homeowner's insurance and, if applicable, mortgage insurance.
The escrow payment goes into a special account with your lender, which then is used to pay your annual taxes and insurance.