7 Ways to Impress a Mortgage Lender ...

Understanding the different ways to impress a mortgage lender can increase your chances of having your home loan application approved. Getting a home loan has become harder since 2008. Many lenders have a strict underwriting process and they'll deny your application if you don't meet their requirements. Here are seven ways to impress a mortgage lender and qualify for the home of your dreams.

1. Bring Cash to the Table

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Being prepared and knowing what the lender requires is one of the top ways to impress a mortgage lender. Don't apply for a home loan if you don't have cash for a down payment. Conventional loans require 5% down, but you can get an FHA mortgage with only 3.5% down. If you really want to impress a lender, bring 20% to the table.

2. Have a Backup Cash Reserve

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Depending on your lender, having money for a down payment isn't enough to qualify for a home loan. Some lenders ask to see bank statements and require applicants to have a two or three-month cash reserve. This financial cushion is helpful in the event of a financial emergency, such as a job loss. The more cash you have stashed away, the easier it is to qualify for a home.

3. Build Your Credit Score

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You can qualify for a mortgage loan with a score as low as 620. But if you're looking to impress your mortgage lender, take steps to build an A+ credit score. A credit score 740 or higher qualifies you for the best interest rate. Pay your bills on time and reduce your credit inquiries.

4. Pay off Your Debts

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Mortgage lenders frequently deal with people who have tons of credit card debt. A high debt to income ratio can stop a mortgage approval. To qualify for a mortgage, take steps to pay down your balances. Pay more than your minimum on your credit cards, and don't take out new debts.

5. Have Documentation Ready

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A mortgage lender will not approve your application without first reviewing your income history. Lenders require at least two years of income statements. This can include tax returns, 1099s or W-2 forms. Applying for a mortgage without these documentations can slow the process and annoy your home loan lender.

6. Be Available

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The home loan approval process can take several days, and your mortgage lender may call you with additional questions. Make sure you're accessible and go the extra mile to provide your lender with the necessary information. Additional information may include copies of bank statements, information on investments and assets, or credit information.

7. Understand the Mortgage Process

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Before applying for a home loan, go online and educate yourself on the process. Your mortgage lender may use a lot of finance language, and while you can always ask questions for clarification, the process will move faster if you have a general understanding of the process. Not to say you need to become an expert, but you can educate yourself on different aspects, such as the appraisal, the home inspection, the title search and so forth.

Applying for a home loan is likely the biggest financial move you'll ever make. This is a huge investment and an excellent way to jump start your net worth. What steps did you take to impress your lender?

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