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When you’re applying for a mortgage, providing adequate documentation can feel like an intimidating process. Depending on the situation, it could take you weeks to track down all the necessary paperwork and get it to your lender, only to be asked for more. To heighten the stakes, if you can’t get your documents submitted in a timely manner, it can seriously slow down the mortgage approval process. (Fortunately, Rocket Mortgage® by Quicken Loans® makes the documentation process easy by allowing you to automatically share your financial information, speeding up the procedure and cutting down on the amount of paperwork you need to provide.)

While you may get frustrated after being asked to send over yet another verification of income, take heart that this process is meant to protect you from entering into a loan agreement you might not be able to uphold. Your mortgage lender wants to make sure they’re giving loans to borrowers who will be able to pay them back. It’s a process that protects you, the lender and the economy as a whole.

How can you be prepared going into the process, so that you spend less time hunting for paperwork and more time hunting for your dream home? Here are some of the basic documents you should have ready when you begin your mortgage application, to help you expedite the process of securing a home loan.


Part of ensuring that you can pay your monthly mortgage payments is for your lender to verify that you have a steady and adequate source of income. This includes looking at your employment and earnings history, as well as considering any other funds that you receive regularly (such as alimony or child support).

Gaps in your employment history or the frequent changing of jobs may signal to an underwriter (the person who reviews all your documentation and decides if you’re approved for a mortgage) that you’re a riskier bet than someone who’s been at the same job for a decade, since any employment disruption can make it harder for you to make payments.

In addition to verifying that you’re employed, your lender will want to look at the past couple of years of your income history. Underwriters are interested in a steady income, so fluctuations could be problematic, even if your income is on the upswing. If your income goes back down to previous levels, will you still be able to make your payments? How likely is your income to remain at the level it is now and, with it, your ability to make mortgage payments? These are some of the questions an underwriter seeks to answer.

Here are some documents underwriters look at to verify your income:

  • Last 2 years of federal tax returns
  • Recent W-2s (going back 2 years) and recent pay stubs
  • 1099 forms and profit and loss statements (if you’re self-employed)
  • Divorce decree or other legal documentation verifying that alimony and/or child support payments will continue for at least 3 years following the mortgage application and proof of at least 6 months of regular payments prior to application

A common misconception with this part of the mortgage process is that it’s impossible for people with nontraditional forms of income to get a loan. While you may have to provide more supporting documentation, as long as you have it (and a history of bank statements showing the money has been deposited into your account) to back up your reliable and continuing source of funds, you shouldn’t have too much trouble using other forms of income to qualify for a mortgage.

Assets and Liabilities

Lenders want to be sure that you can make your down payments, closing costs and mortgage payments even if you encounter financial troubles. To do this, underwriters look at your financial assets to determine if you have the cash – also referred to as liquid financial reserves – to cover the mortgage.

This cash can come in many different forms, including bank accounts, investment portfolios, retirement savings and even money gifted to you from a relative.

You’ll need to provide thorough documentation of any funds you plan on using to help you qualify:

  • Recent statements from any account (for example, checking or savings accounts, investment portfolios, trust accounts) with readily available funds, going back at least 60 days or the most recent quarterly statement
  • Most recent retirement account statements
  • Proof, such as a copy of both the check and the deposit slip, that gift funds are in your account
  • Signed letter from gift giver that includes a statement verifying that no repayment is expected
  • Documents surrounding the sale of assets – proof of ownership, independent verification of the asset’s value, proof of transfer of ownership (such as a bill of sale and something, such as a deposit slip, showing that you received the proceeds)

Your lender will also look at your liabilities, or your debt-to-income ratio, to determine how much money you’re required to regularly pay to various creditors. For this, a lender may ask for supplemental information about any long-term debts you may owe, such as car or student loans.


Your credit score will be a big factor in determining whether you’re approved for a loan and the terms you’re offered if you are.

For this step, you’ll need to provide your lender with verbal or written permission to pull your credit report. They’ll look at your credit history and decide your level of creditworthiness. With certain events, such as bankruptcy or foreclosure, you’ll have to wait a certain number of years before you’re considered eligible for a home loan.

If there were any extenuating circumstances that led to some bad marks on your credit report, there are a few items you can provide to help make the case that a negative event was out of your control and a one-time occurrence. These include:

  • Documents that confirm the event, such as medical bills or a layoff notice
  • A letter of explanation that explains the documentation provided and illustrates what happened and why you couldn’t resolve the situation without taking a credit hit

In addition to looking at your credit report, if you’re currently a renter, your lender may ask you to provide proof of rent payments for the last 12 months, confirmed through canceled checks, bank statements or landlord verification.

Keep in mind that additional documentation may be required depending on your specific situation. It’s important to discuss with your lender the required documents needed to see your loan through to completion.

A Final Mortgage Loan Documents Checklist

As you locate and organize your documents, cross-check your stack of paperwork against this checklist to make sure your lender will have all the information they need:

  • 2 years of tax returns
  • W-2s from the past 2 years
  • Recent pay stubs
  • 1099 forms and profit and loss statements for self-employed individuals
  • Divorce decrees verifying alimony and child support payments
  • Proof of social security or disability income
  • Bank account statements
  • Stock or bond account statements
  • Retirement account statements
  • Proof of gift funds and gift letters
  • Documents for the sale of assets
  • Proof of outstanding, long-term debts
  • Letters of explanation for credit mishaps
  • Documented rent payments for current renters

Of course, you’ll also need to assemble your actual mortgage application, which will include additional information about your current financial standings and the real estate you’re looking to purchase. Similar to other large purchases, your lender will likely verify your identity with a photo ID, so it’s a good idea to have one readily available with the rest of your documents.

The Bottom Line: Organizing Your Mortgage Documents Saves Time And Energy

Having all your documents in one place won’t guarantee that your application will be approved, but staying organized can expedite the process and remove some of the stresses of buying a home.

Keep in mind that your final list of documents may look different, as required documentation varies from lender to lender. If you have specific requirements for a mortgage or a unique financial situation, consider asking your lender to provide their own list of necessary mortgage documents.

Ready to start the process, but intimidated by all the paperwork involved? Rocket Mortgage® makes your mortgage application process easy. Get started online or talk to one of our Home Loan Experts today at (800) 785-4788.

This Post Has 41 Comments

  1. I am dealing with the same requirement for a cell phone, home phone or internet/cable bill to finish my refi. My paystubs, utility bills, etc. are not acceptable. My drivers license address isn’t even enough evidence? My employer actually pays for my main cell phone, but I do have a personal one– I don’t even look at the bill (I pay electronically), and would have happily changed the address if I had been told about this up front, or if I ever thought it was going to be an issue. At the beginning of the process, I was very clear and up front that I had stayed in another rural location during the pandemic and was returning home, so mail and deliveries had been forwarded, as well as the new personal phone I had ordered. I would have changed the address right then and there. Now the entire refi has to start over because of the address on a cell phone bill that might take up to a month to receive?! That is hardly evidence of occupancy. I am looking into other lenders.

    1. Hi Shelly:

      I’m going to go ahead and get this to our team to take another look and see if there’s anything we can do here. Thank you for reaching out!

  2. Hi – I am working with rocket to close a loan. I just got every document request in yesterday – the last document hanging things up was the request for “a cable, internet, home phone, or cell phone bill”. I uploaded my car insurance and utility bill for last month to prove residence – and was told those wouldn’t work. I asked them to call my HOA – doesn’t work. I don’t have cable, my cell phone is under an old address unfortunately when switching providers back to an old one, I never changed it – so I had that mobile phone address changed online yesterday after encountering this request, but it won’t appear until my next bill. I don’t have a landline. Finally, I was unable to get an internet bill for the last two weeks after multiple interactions with my provider because the online website was broken. Finally, after spending literally hours with my provider, Century Link, yesterday, they were able to fix my online account page so I could view and print a statement. I uploaded it yesterday, and that was going to be it for requested documents. Today, I was called by a person from the underwriter team to say that I could not use the Century Link statement, that it is a known issue and that their statements ‘don’t count’ – they ‘don’t include enough real account information’. He said he has fought people on this and lost, and there is nothing he can do. He said he would close my loan application and I can re-apply next month. I asked him not to so I could look into it, and if he would wait until tomorrow. He then said he knew of one case where screenshots of the Century Link account were used in one case to corroborate the online ‘statement’ they provide, and after telling me that would not be accepted, he suggested I go ahead and send in screenshots, that it would be a ‘long shot’ and might work. Quick Loans people: this is very frustrating, and I see another question like this above, where you offer to contact the person. Maybe you helped them? Can you contact me, asap tomorrow, to see if you can help either my representative, or the gentlemen from the underwriting department, close my loan after all the hard work on everyone’s part? Please contact me tomorrow if so. Thank you.

    1. Hi Frustrated:

      I’m sorry to hear you’ve had this experience. I’m going to get this to our client relations team so they can look into what’s happening here and see if we can do anything for you. I appreciate you reaching out!

    2. I’m going through the same issue with Quicken. I’ve uploaded a bunch of documents, statements, vehicle registration, utility bills but the underwriter, Phil is insisting that I need to have cable TV and internet bills as well. He’s been super high pressure with requests and giving me no time to source the info he requests, usually demanding documents in a few hours while I’m at work. He just texted me that he was closing the application!
      Super frustrated and taking my business elsewhere.

      1. Hi Tim:

        This isn’t the type of experience we want for our clients. We’ll be looking into this! Thanks for reaching out!

  3. My wife want me to say that we are not married so we can get a mortgage without her because of debt she has. Do I have to say we aren’t married to get the mortgage in my name and is that mortgage fraud?

    1. That could be considered a form of mortgage fraud. Those rules are in place because debt is treated differently based on marriage in certain states. You may have options to apply on your own even if you are married and there are different guidelines for different loan types. I recommend speaking with one of our Home Loan Experts at (888) 980-6716 to go over your options. Have a good day!

  4. My won’t me to say that we are not married so we can get a mortgage without her because of debt she has. Do I have to say we aren’t married to get the mortgage in my name?

  5. If I’m a disabled veteran and my only income is not taxable so I have not filed my taxes theast few years, will that be an issue?

    1. Hi Joel:

      Thank you for your service! I’m going to recommend you speak with one of our Home Loan Experts at (888) 980-6716. They can give you guidance on exactly what documents are going to be needed. I can tell you that if you receive VA disability, we should be able to qualify you based on that income. Thanks!

  6. Hi,
    I’m planning to buy a home but I dont have enough money for my down payment. My current balance is less than $5k in. I’m earning $130k per year and looking for close to $300k mortgage. Do I need to increase my balance to $15k and then apply for mortgage? What would you recommend? Will my mortgage loan rejected if I apply now?

    1. Hi Partha:

      You can get a mortgage with as little as 3% down, so you’re looking at $9,000 right there. But then you have to think about closing costs. We tell people these average anywhere between 3% – 6%. It’s not that you would automatically be denied at this point, but you might find that you wouldn’t be approved for the amount you wish to have. I recommend speaking with one of our Home Loan Experts at (888) 980-6716. Thanks!

  7. My parent has recently gifted me a large down payment for whenever I’m ready to purchase a home. It will be within the 60 days of bank statements however it was just transferred to my bank account from hers (no checks or deposit) and we have not made a gift letter. How should I approach this to make sure the gift is accepted? We are looking to go with an FHA loan, would we just need to provide bank statements from both of us to show proof of the transfer and the gift letter?

    1. Hi Jane:

      As for proof of transfer, bank statements (or retirement account statements of those were used) should be sufficient. You may need to show statements from before and after the transfer. Additionally, you will need a gift letter. I hope this helps!

  8. If I have one collection of $300, and a FICO score of 640+, can I still be approved with just one 2 year old collection against me?

    1. Hi Terry:

      While there are some exceptions and having a collection does affect your credit score, in most cases, the collection doesn’t have to be paid in order to be approved. If you would like to get started online, you can do so with Rocket Mortgage. Otherwise, feel free to give one of our Home Loan Experts a call at (888) 980-6716. Thanks for reaching out!

  9. I was recently laid for about a month and a half due to COVID 19. I am now back to work (with the same company) and would like to purchase a home. Will this affect my chances of getting a mortgage?

    1. Hi Nathan:

      That represents a very short layoff. You should be fine. You may just need a letter of explanation. If you would like to get started online, you can do so with Rocket Mortgage or give us a call at (888) 980-6716. Thanks for reaching out!

    1. Hi Judy:

      Thank you for your service! In terms of documentation, the only thing that’s specific to a VA loan is a Certificate of Eligibility. If you don’t have one, we can help you with the paperwork for it as long as you qualify based on your service time. Other than that, we would need income and asset documentation that would be associated with any mortgage loan. We recommend gathering things like 2 years’ worth of W-2s and tax returns as well as your two most recent pay stubs and 2 months’ worth of bank statements. If you’re self-employed, we may require a few other pieces of business documentation to go along with your tax returns. The good news is a lot of this can be imported electronically, which should limit the amount of hunting around you have to do.

      You can get started online with Rocket Mortgage® or give one of our Home Loan Experts a call at (888) 980-6716. I hope this helps and have a wonderful day!

  10. My brother in law would like to give me and my wife a gift or 10K towards the purchase of our first home. The bank is requesting the last 2 bank statements from him but he feels this is an invasion of his privacy since he is not the one purchasing the house. Is there something else that he can provide to show that he has that money in the bank?

    1. Hi Robert:

      For most of the loans we do, there just needs to be evidence of funds transfer. However, if it’s a USDA or FHA loan, government policies stipulate that we source the funds. This can be done through a single bank statement or a canceled check if the funds are transferred before closing. If they are transferred at closing, you would need a canceled or cashier’s check and a bank statement showing the funds are available. If retirement funds were used, the requirements are a little different. But the bottom line is that every lender kind of has their own policies, so it doesn’t matter what I tell you about what we do. You kind of have to follow whatever they say. With that being said, if it’s early enough in the process that you’re willing to make a switch, you can check out your options through Rocket Mortgage or give us a call at (888) 980-6716.

  11. I currently have two loans, **************************************************************************************************************.

    I am selling the 2nd Ave property and buying a condo. I Intend to use $380 in equity and take out a $185K loan. I need a preapproval ASAP to close the sale. What documents do you need and who do I send it to? If it goes through, I would like to apply to you because of your excellent service.

    1. Hi Lawrence:

      This is a public comments section, so I’ve removed your loan numbers and addresses.

      The documents you need to apply depend on the type of loan you’re getting as well as the type of income and assets you have that you want used for the mortgage. Examples would be W-2s, pay stubs or 1099s or profit/loss statements if you’re self-employed. If you want to use rental income, we would need to see the rental agreement. Tax returns can also help verify income.

      As far as assets, you can use statements for any account you want to use to show savings.

      In terms of getting it to us, you can get started online with Rocket Mortgage or work through the process with one of our Home Loan Experts by calling (888) 980-6716. Have a great day!

  12. my wife and I both hold multiple loans with quicken , it was on her credit though.
    I was paying for all those loans and we have been able to knock down more than 50% in principal payments towards the loans. now that we are divorcing and since we were actively paying down the home loans we dont have much savings. I have an excellent credit score above 750 but dont have 2 years of w2 i was all along on 1099 and had few losses last year in my business. I have enough income on paystubs this year to make the payments 3ice over easily on the existing loans monthly besides my expenses. My q is will i qualify for a loan. Have 0 debt so far and make 96k a year.

    1. Hi Fateh:
      While having a good credit score is important when it comes to getting approved for a mortgage, there are multiple factors that go into the approval process, and it would be hard for me to tell you whether or not you’d be able to qualify for a loan based on this information alone. One of our Home Loan Experts will be better able to advise you based on your individual situation. You can get in touch with them by filling out this form or calling (888) 980-6716. Hope this helps!

  13. Hi, my wife and I are first time home buyers. We have decent credit scores (above 680) no late or delinquent payments on anything we have. However I dont have 2 years work history at my job and was actually out of work a few months ago but my wife does have 3 years at her current employer. My concern is the DTI. Would my debts have to be factored in even if I do not want to be on the loan? Also are there any special loan programs availiable with QL for first time home buyers?

    1. Hi Steve:

      It’s hard to give you a definitive answer on the DTI question without knowing more, but I can tell you what goes into that. If you live in a community property state and are getting an FHA or VA loan, your debts would have to be factored into her DTI. If you go with a conventional loan, your debts aren’t factored in as long as she’s the only one on the loan.

      The only program we have that’s specific to first-time home buyers is one through Fannie Mae where you can get closing cost assistance if you buy a property owned by Fannie Mae. All of our other programs are open to everybody. If you’d like to go over your options, you can get a preapproval online through Rocket Mortgage. Otherwise, one of our Home Loan Experts would be happy to help find the loan program that’s right for you if you give us a call at (888) 980-6716.

      Kevin Graham

  14. Sir, We are new in USA, have spent less than 2 yrs in the US so have less than 2 yrs of work experience.. We have excellent credit score though. Will we qualify for the loan Pre approval.

    1. Hi Maria:

      I can’t comment on your chances for preapproval on the blog because we would have to look into your situation. One of our Home Loan Experts would be better able to advise you on this. You can get in touch with them by filling out this form or calling (888) 980-6716.

      Kevin Graham

  15. The matrix comment that being strong in 3 areas is not true. I have been in the same job for 3 years. I am only 26. So this is not too bad given my age.. I had the downpayment up of 10 percent and had assets worth half the house I was interested in. Which historically had an upwards trend in value even in recent years. My credit admittedly is not the best. But no late payments in the last 2 years and credit cards under 30 percent. Strong in 3 areas but your Matrix dqs people purely on the credit side. No consideration given on the other fronts.

    1. Hi Adam:

      I understand your frustration. Unfortunately, mortgage investors do require a minimum credit score in order to accept loans from us. The good news is, credit is something that can be worked on. I’m going to have someone reach out to you to help go over your personal situation, but in the meantime, here’s a blog post with tips on how to build that score back up.

      Kevin Graham

  16. I am applying for a refinance of a home. I have excellent credit, loan to debt radio is excellent. bills always paid on time. I have worked at the same job for almost 40 years. My daughter rents a room out ($300 a month) and now the underwriters want me to show proof I live in the home. I have given them any and all documentation that I have except the two things they are asking for which is a Cable and Landline phone which I do not have. How would that be prove I live here??”

    I have provided utility bills, credit cards, car notes, savings, checking accounts, car insurance, car insurance billing each month, W-2’s, Pay stubs, etc. and they still are not accepting proof I live in the home. The one thing I did not give them was medical bills which is a privacy act on my part or is this something they want too. They are requesting a cable and Landline. ????? I am totally confused and frustrated if this is how a customer is to be treated. With todays society allot of people do not even have internet and/or landlines. I find this unbelievable as a requirement to finance a loan. It was explained to me that is a Fannie Mae Requirement. Can you provide me with that information that states this is a requirement, Thanking you in advance.

    1. Thanks for your message, Judy. Our team is looking into how we can best assist you. Our client relations team will send you an email to get some more information.

  17. I am legally married but have been separated over a year and I want to get a home mortgage by myself. Can I still apply or what do I have to do.

    1. Hello, Mayra! I’ve sent your question to our home loan experts, and they’ll be sending you an email shortly. In the meantime, take a look at this article for more information: http://bit.ly/1t5OUGq. Have a good day!

  18. Question: What if a couple is legally separated and one of them tries to apply for mortgage on a different home with someone else, who is not yet divorced – would this pose a problem for an underwriter? Thanks!

    1. Hi bbqpitmaster! I’ve passed this on to our team of mortgage experts who will reach out with more info.

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