5 Requirements You Need to Get Pre-Approved for a Mortgage

When applying for a pre-approved mortgage, you need to secure the five critical requirements: proof of income, employment certification, good credit, proof of assets, and employment verification. On top of these vital requirements, the lender may ask for other important documentation from you.

Let’s take a look at each requirement before you get pre-approved for a mortgage:

1. Proof of Income 

You should prepare W-2 statements in the last two years or recent payslips to show proof of income. You can also include some documents that will show any additional sources of income like bonuses and alimony. Recent tax returns may also be required by the lender.

2. Proof of Assets

As a borrower, you should present your bank statements and other investment account statements as proof that you are capable of paying the down payment, cash reserves, and closing costs.  

Each loan type may have different down payment rates, expressed as a percentage of the actual selling price. Some loans may require that the buyer purchase private mortgage insurance or pay for a mortgage insurance premium, unless they are giving at least 20% of the purchase price. Pre-approval is also based on the buyer’s credit score and other factors like the debt-to-income ratio.

For instance, Veteran Affairs (VA) loans require no down payment, which is open for U.S. service members, veterans, and spouses of veterans who did not remarry. 

3. Good Credit

Most lenders prefer a FICO score of 620 and up for them to approve a conventional loan. Some even require a credit score for a Federal Housing Administration (FHA) loan. Lenders usually reserve the lowest interest rates for applicants with a credit score of 760 or higher. FHA rules and guidelines allow the approved borrowers with a credit score of 580 or higher to give a down payment of 3.5%. 

Those buyers with lower credit scores will have to put a larger down payment. Lenders often work with borrowers with a low to moderately low credit score and recommend ways to improve their credit score first.

4. Employment Verification

Lenders want to ensure that they pre-approve a loan only to borrowers with a stable job. A lender will be interested in seeing a buyer’s payslips and verifying employment status. Calling the employer to verify the applicant’s job and salary is part of the process. A lender may also contact the previous employers in case the buyer just recently changed jobs.

Self-employed buyers will be required to provide important additional paperwork regarding their business and other sources of income. Other factors that may be needed for a self-employed borrower can include the following:

  • Nature and location of the buyer’s business
  • Stability of the borrower’s income
  • The demand for the service or product
  • The capacity of the business to continue generating and distributing sufficient amount to pay the mortgage
  • The financial strength of the business

Usually, self-employed borrowers will need to present at least the last two years’ tax returns with proper schedules. 

5. Other Papers and Documentations

Copies of some important documents, IDs, and documentation will be asked from the buyer. The lender may ask for a copy of the Social Security number, driver’s license, and signature, which will be used to generate a credit report. Always make sure that you have all the necessary papers and documentation requested by the lender. 


Applying and getting to be pre-approved for a mortgage can be overwhelming if you’re not prepared. However, if you’re armed with the right requirements, the process will be easy and simple. The more prepared and cooperative you are, the smoother the application process will be. 

Consulting with a lender before you apply for a mortgage loan will help you be free from the hassles. Hawkins Home Loans is your reliable resource for a hassle-free loan process and low rates. Contact us today, and let’s discuss how we can help!