5 Documents You Need to Get a Mortgage (Faster)

Dig out those tax returns and W-2s. It could save you a headache when applying for a mortgage.

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It might be a great time to buy a house according to the experts, but getting the money to pay for your new digs is a different story.

New mortgage regulations and tight credit standards have slowed down the process for getting a loan, according to LendingTree data, and with rock-bottom mortgage rates, lenders have been overwhelmed with refinancing applications.

But while it might seem like you're at the mercy of the "system" when it comes to your mortgage application, there are a few things you can do to speed up the process--or at least not slow it down further.

[Read: Down Payments: What Are Buyers Really Paying?]

Before even beginning the loan process, experts recommend having these documents on hand and ready to go:

  • W-2s or federal tax returns for the past two years;
  • Most recent pay stub for proof of income;
  • Most recent statements for any loans or outstanding debt;
  • Statements for bank accounts and other assets for the past three months;
  • Updated credit report.
  • Lenders might require additional documentation specific to the type of loan you're seeking, but these basic ones should get you started. For purchase mortgages, be sure to have your purchase agreement and real estate contract on hand. For refi applications, bring along your home insurance policy and most recent mortgage statement.

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    "Doing the groundwork before entering the loan process will allow for a smoother transaction with less frustration," Doug Lebda, founder and CEO of LendingTree, said in a release. "Although lenders are flooded with volume, borrowers who come to the table prepared will increase lender efficiency and will allow for a shorter closing timeframe."

    mhandley@usnews.com

    Twitter: @mmhandley

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