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Essential Documents For Securing a Home Loan

Couple signing home loan documents

Embarking on the journey to homeownership is exhilarating.

However, navigating the path to securing a home loan can often feel daunting. Different lenders have varying mortgage loan requirements, making it challenging to understand exactly what paperwork is needed. This blog will serve as your comprehensive guide, detailing the essential paperwork and steps required to secure your home loan with confidence. Whether you're a first-time buyer in Illinois and Indiana, or an existing customer of First Bank looking to expand your property portfolio, we're here to simplify the process and support you every step of the way.

Understanding the Home Loan Application Process

Preparation is key when applying for a mortgage. Having the necessary documentation on hand is critical for your financial institution to be able to assess your creditworthiness and ability to repay the loan. This preparation paves the way for a smoother application process and can potentially speed up the approval of your home loan.

Personal Identification and Verification Documents

When applying for a mortgage at First Bank, personal identification comes first. Your government-issued photo ID, such as a driver’s license, allows the lender to verify your identity and help protect against fraud. You'll need to present this identification at application as well as in-person at your loan closing.

Your Social Security card or number is another critical piece of the puzzle. It's used for credit checks, which are a vital component of the home loan approval process. For non-U.S. citizens, proof of legal residency is required. These documents ensure we can accurately assess your credit history and affirm your eligibility for a home loan.

Income Verification to Demonstrate Financial Stability

Your income will need to be verified to ensure it is stable and reliable in order to cover mortgage payments. Applicants are required to submit recent pay stubs, typically covering the last 45 days, to provide evidence of earnings. This snapshot of income provides lenders with a baseline for assessing your financial health.

In addition to recent pay stubs, First Bank mortgage loan requirements include W-2 and Federal Tax Returns from the past two years. These documents offer a more comprehensive view of an applicant's financial history and consistency of income. For income derived from sources other than traditional employment, such as alimony, bonuses, or investments, applicants must provide corresponding documentation. 

Employment History and Verification

A comprehensive employment history is a critical component to demonstrate stable income when applying for a home loan. You will be asked to provide the names and addresses of your employers for the last two years. A consistent work record helps ensure your ability to maintain regular mortgage payments.

Lenders, including First Bank, also require verifiable proof of employment. You should be prepared to supply contact information for a human resources representative or direct supervisor who can confirm your employment status. These steps are important as we assess risk and ensure that all income sources are legitimate and ongoing.

Credit History and Financial Behavior

Upon application, First Bank will thoroughly review your credit history to evaluate your financial behavior. This essential step helps our mortgage experts determine the risk associated with lending to you. You will need to fill out a credit report authorization form, giving us permission to check your credit scores and history. This report plays a pivotal role in the mortgage approval process, as it reflects your consistency in paying bills and managing debt.

If there are negative items on your credit report, a written explanation can be beneficial. It is also important to provide an accurate account of your existing debts and monthly obligations, including credit card balances, car loans, student loans, and any other recurring financial commitments. Expecting to declare bankruptcy, or having done so in the past 10 years is a factor that must be disclosed. Providing relevant court documents and an explanation of why you declared bankruptcy can help provide context for underwriters.

Proof of Assets and Down Payment Capability

Demonstrating your financial strength is a crucial step during the application process. To do this effectively, you will need to provide proof of assets and show that you have the financial capability to make a down payment. Two months of bank statements from your checking and savings accounts are fundamental. These should reflect a history of consistent savings that can be used toward your home purchase. 

In addition to your liquid assets, you will need to present investment account statements, which may include stocks, bonds, and retirement accounts. These documents not only prove your ability to afford the initial down payment but also your financial resilience over the long term. If your down payment will be funded by gift funds or grants, documentation confirming the source and amount of these funds is required. This would need to include a letter from the person gifting you the money, a copy of the check, plus two months of their bank statements.

Property Information and Purchase Details

Securing a home loan with First Bank requires precise details about the property you intend to purchase. A signed purchase agreement is mandatory, as it provides the terms of the sale and confirms both parties' commitment to the transaction. This legally binding contract will outline the purchase price, and any conditions or contingencies that must be met before the sale can be finalized.

Additionally, proof of an earnest money deposit demonstrates your serious intent to buy and secures the property during the closing process. It's a portion of the down payment that shows the seller you're committed to the transaction. You will also need to provide contact information for your real estate agent and/or the seller. This gives your lender direct communication with the other parties involved, ensuring that all necessary information is accurate and up to date throughout the loan application process.

Additional Documentation for Specific Situations

For applicants in unique employment situations, First Bank requires additional documentation to fully assess financial stability. Self-employed individuals must provide two years of business tax returns, which offer insight into the sustainability and earnings. Rental property owners should provide current lease agreements and proof of rental income, ensuring that all potential earnings are considered in the loan evaluation process. This supplemental information assists First Bank in creating a comprehensive financial profile for each mortgage applicant.

Preparing for Potential Underwriting Requests

The underwriting process involves a thorough review of your financial health and the risks involved in lending to you. It's not uncommon for the underwriters to request additional documents or clarifications to paint a complete picture of your financial situation. These requests may include more detailed bank statements, explanations for unusual transactions, or proof of insurance. Your prompt reply will help keep the application process moving forward, as well as demonstrate your commitment to securing the loan. Remember, each piece of information you provide helps the underwriter assess your ability to repay the mortgage, ultimately working towards a favorable decision on your application.

Tips for a Smooth Application Process with First Bank

Keeping your documents organized and easily accessible is crucial during the mortgage application process with First Bank. Create a dedicated file for all the paperwork needed, such as identification, income verification, and property information. This organization will expedite your responses to any requests from our team and reduce the likelihood of delays. Promptness is key and your quick replies demonstrate your commitment to the process and help maintain the momentum towards loan approval. 

Why Choose First Bank for Your Home Loan

At First Bank, you'll get a personalized experience while partnering with a professional, knowledgeable, expert team who lives in and understands the local housing market. This commitment extends beyond the application process as we believe in building a long-lasting relationship with you. Testimonials from satisfied clients often highlight the our responsiveness, support, and guidance throughout the home-buying journey. You'll get that, too.

Next Steps After Gathering Your Documents

Once you have gathered all the necessary documents, you're ready to start your application through our secure online platform. Not quite ready to apply or have questions? No problem. Discover more, explore our helpful mortgage calculators, visit our blog to read our First Time Homebuyers Guides, or connect with our knowledgeable Mortgage Expert.


Congratulations on taking the first step towards home ownership! This process may seem a bit daunting with lots of paperwork needed but with the right documentation and guidance from our committed team of experts, you'll soon hold the keys to your dream home.

With First Bank by your side, your home-buying experience will be a smooth one.