Jennifer Lee Mazeika


“Home is where your story begins, I’ll help you get there.”


You Submit Your Mortgage Application

I remember when my husband and I first started looking for a home in the Smith Mountain Lake, Virginia area. It was a place we had fallen in love with after visiting my husband’s family a number of times. Anyway, we had just moved down from Pennsylvania and at the time we were living in my in-laws guest house. We were in our mid 20’s, newly married and anxious to move out on our own.

We were first-time home buyers. We started looking at listings on-line and driving thru different neighborhoods around the Smith Mountain Lake, Virginia – like Moneta, Goodview, Hardy and Huddleston. These were all very good first steps.  But you know what our first step should have been. . .

  1. Checking Our Credit Scores
    This is the number that mortgage lenders will look at to determine whether you are “creditworthy”. The average credit score is 695. Only about half the people that apply for a mortgage fall in the 700+ range.
  1. Figuring Out How Much Home We Could Afford
    You should honestly assess your financial situation, including your income, monthly expenses and debts, job stability and determine roughly what you can afford to pay each month. Use the Zillow Affordability Calculator  to determine how much house you can afford. By entering details about your income, down payment, and monthly debts, you can estimate the mortgage amount that works with your budget.
  1. Getting Pre-Approved for a Mortgage
    If you have given yourself ample time before purchasing your new home, I would recommend visiting more than one mortgage lender to find the right fit for you. I work with three very professional mortgage lenders in my area on a regular basis. They are listed on the sidebar of this “Buy A Home” blog page. Just click-on a name in the “Preferred Mortgage Lender” list to see their information.

Once you have found a mortgage lender and gone through the process of supplying your tax forms, W-2’s, recent pay stubs, savings and debt obligations, the lender will let you know at what rate and how much they are willing to pre-approve a mortgage for your new home.

This is a crucial step in buying your first home!  It shows the seller that you have what it takes to buy their home.  In most markets, a pre-approved mortgage is required for a seller to take your offer seriously. It shows the seller that you are both willing and able to purchase their home.

Getting a pre-approved mortgage also estimates the size of loan you can handle and calculates your monthly mortgage payment.  This will also help you estimate your total monthly budget to make sure you don’t become “house poor” after purchasing your first home.

Here is what you will need to take with you for your first visit to your mortgage lender:

Loan Application Information Required

The first thing you’ll do when applying for a mortgage is complete a federally required mortgage application. Regardless of whether the application is in the paper format linked here, an online form, or done verbally with your loan officer, this linked document contains the application with the information you’ll need to provide, including:

  • Full name, birth date, Social Security number, and phone number
  • Marital status, number of children and ages
  • Residence history for at least two years. If you’re a renter, your rent payment is needed. If you’re an owner, all mortgage, insurance and tax figures are needed for your primary residence and all other properties owned.
  • Employment history for at least two years, including company name(s), address(es), phone number(s), and your title(s).
  • Income history for at least two years. If you receive commissions, bonuses, or are self-employed, you must provide two years of bonus, commission, or self-employed income received. Most lenders average variable and self-employed income over two years.
  • Asset account balances including all checking, savings, investment, and retirement accounts.
  • Debt payments and balances for credit cards, mortgages, student loans, car loans, alimony, child support, or any other fixed debt obligations.
  • Confirmation whether you’ve had bankruptcies or foreclosures within the past seven years, whether you’re party to any lawsuits, or you co-sign on any loans.
  • Confirmation if any part of your down payment will be borrowed.

Loan Documentation Required

Next comes the step of verifying all of the information provided in the application with documentation. A lender will provide a checklist based on your specific profile, but you can generally expect the following:

  • Written (or sometimes verbal) authorization for your lender to run your credit report.
  • Letters of explanation for credit inquiries, past addresses, and derogatory information on your credit report.
  • If you’ve had a bankruptcy in the past seven years, discharge papers are required.
  • If any tax liens or other derogatory items on your credit report require further explanation, you’ll be required to provide full documentation for each derogatory instance.
  • If you’re a renter with a private landlord, 12 months of canceled rent checks or 12 months of bank statements to show rent checks cleared on time. If you’re a renter with an institutional landlord, your lender can sometimes get them to complete a form confirming on-time rent payments in lieu of cancelled checks or bank statements.
  • If you’re keeping your existing home and renting it out, you’ll need to provide a lease agreement and proof that the first month’s rent has been deposited into your bank account.
  • If you intend to sell your existing home before closing on the new home, you’ll need to provide a listing agreement for the home, and it will need to close before your new home can close.
  • Pay stubs for at least 30 days.
  • W2 forms for all jobs worked in the past two years.
  • All pages of personal federal tax returns for the past two years.
  • If self-employed or greater than 20 percent owner in a company, all pages of business federal tax returns for past two years.
  • If self-employed or greater than 20 percent owner in a company, a year-to-date profit and loss statement for the business.
  • Income from rental properties can typically only count if it’s on your tax returns. If rental income isn’t on your tax returns yet because the rental property is new, lenders may accept the income if your rental property down payment was 30 percent or greater. Ask your lender.
  • If you’re divorced and receiving (or paying) child support or alimony, a divorce decree will be required, and this income typically must be scheduled for at least three more years from the time of loan closing.
  • Most recent two months statements for all checking, savings, investment, and retirement accounts. You must include all pages even if a page says “intentionally left blank” or you think there is no relevant information on certain pages.
  • If you move money among accounts, you must provide all accounts even if you’re only using one account for the down payment, because the lender will review every line item on two months of full account statements and ask you to paper-trail large deposits and withdrawals.
  • If you’re receiving gift funds, your lender will require all donors and receivers to sign a gift letter verifying the gift isn’t a loan. Some lenders want to see the donor’s accounts for verification of the donor’s ability to gift, and some only want to see the funds being received in your account. And for further reference, here are specific rules for using gift funds as down payment.


If the above information looks overwhelming and stressful don’t let it be.  The minute you open the door to your first home, you will know that it has all been worth it.  Besides, I’m there to help you get through it. I will assist you every step of the way.

Needless to say, my husband I were successful in purchasing our first home in Goodview. It’s where we started our family – our son and daughter.  As a realtor who has assisted many couples with the purchase of their first home, I’ll help get you there.

For a Free No-Obligation Consultation, contact me at 540-537-2332 or email me at