After the rush of offer and counter-offer deadlines, the home buying process slows down considerably, since it can take up to 45 days before closing and moving in. What’s going on? The largest part of this time is taken up with the mortgage loan approval process.

You have probably already been in contact with lenders and already have a pre-approval letter. The  final approval process, however, is a longer and more thorough process. The purpose of this is to verify all aspects of your financial situation, including income, debts, assets and employment. In this way, the lender can be assured that you will be able to afford the mortgage payments on your new home.

Although the process can take several weeks, you can make it faster by pre-assembling the information the lender will need. Here’s a checklist of what you will need to provide:

  • Two years of W-2 forms and recent paycheck stubs from employment, or profit and loss statements or 1099 forms if you own a business.
  • Your last two years of federal tax returns.
  • A complete list of your debts, including credit cards, student loans and car loans, with balances and minimum monthly payments.
  • A list of your assets, including bank statements, deeds and vehicle titles, and investment records.
  • Canceled checks for your current rent or mortgage payments.
  • If your down payment is a gift or grant, a letter from the giver that the money is not a loan.
  • The Purchase and Sale agreement for your new home.