My Terrible Mortgage Experience & Tips For How To Prepare To Get One

Tips for Getting a Mortgage

I am warning you, this post is long, but I’m telling the story in detail to prepare you if you are considering getting a mortgage and buying property. This will be especially helpful for anyone who has a business or side gig, or anyone getting a VA loan.

Even though we bought our house last summer, it’s taken me this long to write about the experience because anytime I think about it I get so pissed off. I wanted to tell this story for anyone who has been thinking of buying a property and doesn’t really know anything about mortgages. Hopefully what we went through will help you prepare yourself because it’s a lot of paperwork! I’m not a mortgage expert so you should just take all of this as my experience!

OUR FIRST HOME

This wasn’t the first home my husband and I bought. We bought one ten years ago when we lived in Kansas City — back when mortgages were super easy to get. Kansas City has a great cost of living so the home prices are reasonable, especially compared to the DC area where we live now.

For our first home we got a loan through our bank (a type of first time buyers loan), and honestly, it was super easy. At the time, I worked at Hallmark Cards HQ and my husband had his own company. We were in our early 20s. We had no problems getting a mortgage. We bought a house well within our means lived in it for several years until we moved to DC and rented it to a family for a few years, and then sold it after owning it for 7-8 years. Getting that mortgage was easy, we never had a problem with it, or with the bank.

DECIDING TO BUY AGAIN

Fast-forward ten years to when we decided to buy again last year in the DC area. Since my husband is former military, we qualified for a VA loan. VA loans can be a little tricky, they require A LOT of extra paperwork, and sometimes it can scare sellers, which really sucks in competitive markets.

I told the story of how we found our home and got a contract on it here. The DC market can be ruthless so you have to be willing to act fast!

I’m not going to name the bank, but I will say that we’ve been with them for a long time, we had our previous mortgage with them (and never had a problem with it), my business account is with them, and honestly I’ve always had good experiences with them, until now. And unfortunately, it was really just with one specific person. Let’s call him Joe (not his real name).

JOE THE MORTGAGE GUY

My first mistake was rushing into finding a person to work with on our mortgage — so I will take the blame on this, totally my bad. We needed to get a pre-approval letter quickly so we could bid on a home that we really liked. (In the DC market, for desirable areas you often have to bid on a home within the first few days of it going on the market, and usually you will be competing with other bids.) So instead of going into a bank location and finding someone in person that I felt good with and knew that they would know what the F they were doing and were familiar with VA loans, I just called the number on my bank’s site for the mortgage team. I wrongly assumed that anyone on the “mortgage team” would know what they were doing. I asked if they could put me with someone in my state because the area has it’s own specific things about it, and they said they’d definitely place me with someone in my area. Except that Joe actually didn’t live in my area. Not even in a state that touched my state. Red flag number one?

Over the phone Joe seemed fine. The first conversation we had he seemed like knew what he was doing. We got the pre-approval quickly, made our offer, but didn’t get the house (which I’m glad for now because I love the home we did end up getting). From the get-go I made it clear to Joe that we were on a time crunch.

We knew how fast you have to move in the DC market so we were prepared to do so, but we also had to move out of our apartment on a certain date or pay a ridiculous day rate (RIDICULOUS), so we were trying to be able to buy and close around that time to avoid incurring any additional moving/living costs.

When we put an offer in on the house that we did end up getting, I got Joe’s approval (in email!) that we could close in 35 days. Very important — I got this in writing, from him. He said 35 days, I never suggested a number. I clarified days or business days, he said days. He approved the closing date we put on the contract, which I actually think was 36 days but whatever. Again, I had all of this correspondence in email.

I was dedicated to being as prompt with getting my side of the work done as quickly as possible so that no time problems could come back on me and that the process could go as fast as possible (I’m the type who has a label maker and uses it frequently). Every single piece of paperwork that was given to me (and my husband) to fill out and sign, we did so promptly, and sent it back within 24 hours (usually much faster, same day, within hours).

SOMETHING DIDN’T SEEM RIGHT

Joe started to become less responsive. Not picking up his phone, not emailing me back, answering 1 out of 5 questions in my emails and literally ignoring the rest of my questions. My husband thought maybe I was just being a little overzealous (fair assumption) and asking a ton of ridiculous questions and maybe I should just chill a little (I was just trying to be thorough and anticipate his questions so I could prepare for them). But I started to feel like Joe DGAF about our mortgage, or the timeline, or anything really.

At the same time, after the mortgage crisis, I knew things had changed in the industry, and I knew there was a ton more paperwork involved, and a VA loan is more involved, and I’m an entrepreneur which means even more paperwork for me to provide — so I knew things would be much different than they were the first time we got a mortgage. Still Joe’s apathetic actions seemed weird to me, but I just thought maybe that was just how it was now.

I asked Joe if we could sign things digitally, he said yes, but then a few WEEKS later he came back and gave me a list of documents that had to have wet signatures, meaning print it out, sign in pen, and then he literally told me to FAX them back. Um, I’m sorry, do you live in 2018 because NO ONE FAXES ANYMORE. Like you’ve got to be kidding me, seriously who uses a fax machine!? I said I’d send everything digitally, I don’t fax, no one faxes, and surely I’m not the first person to say that. I said all of this more nicely of course but that is just what was going through my head, like if you’ve ever worked with ANYONE on a mortgage, I’m SURE they don’t fax documents. Or at least the majority of people don’t have access to a fax machine.

I printed out all the documents, we signed them, I scanned them into a scanning app on my phone and sent them back to him, again, within hours. In my mind your mortgage broker should probably KNOW what documents require wet signatures and what ones can be digitally signed, but I digress.

Then Joe started to ask for more documents and more questions (things I believe the underwriter was asking him about). However, half of the items he’d already asked me about and I’d already provided to him. I had provided answers to his questions, but I also asked him questions in return like — do you need a letter from my apartment building confirming we’ve paid our rent (which my building said they’d provide same day)? So I would answer his question, but also ask if he needed additional documentation to back up my answer. Did I ever get an answer from him to these questions, no. Did I have to provide this additional documentation later, yes.

It was like I was WAY more on top of everything than he was. He would send me a list of 15 things he needed and I’d forward him emails I’d already sent him 2-3 weeks ago with the documents/answers I’d already given him. No I am not kidding you. RED FLAG!!! I would even send everything to him in different emails with the subject line that was specific to the question/document so that it would be easy for him to find in his inbox.

Then he kept asking me about some $30 charge to a specific company — but he couldn’t tell me which of my bank accounts or credit cards or even the date the transaction occurred. I went through 2 years of bank & credit card statements, and literally found nothing matching this transaction. I kept telling him, I DON’T KNOW WHAT TRANSACTION YOU ARE TALKING ABOUT. And that there was no charge in any of my accounts and could he tell me where he saw it so I could find it for him. Come to find out later (from his boss) that he had uploaded SOMEONE ELSE’S INFO to OUR ACCOUNT. So he was asking me questions about something that WASN’T EVEN ABOUT ME. Ok I need to take a deep breath after that one because I vividly remember taking 2 hours out of my workday to find this stupid transaction THAT WASN’T EVEN MINE.

THE APPRAISAL

If you aren’t familiar with VA loans and you are planning to get one, definitely find someone who knows what they are doing. VA appraisers are notoriously strict, this is for the benefit of the Veteran to not overpay for a property, but in the DC market people sometimes do have to overpay just to get the property. Typically the bank will only loan you the amount that the property is appraised for, so if you want to pay more for the property, you have to pay out of pocket. In certain neighborhoods in the DC area you often have to overbid the asking price (by tens of thousands) to be the best offer and get the property. So while you never want to overpay for a home, sometimes there’s no option. The appraiser is there to keep you from overpaying, so this is just something to be aware of and ask your mortgage broker/Realtor about.

We had to go back and forth with our sellers after the appraisal. It ended up being fine, but I was just stressed about it for those few days because the sellers could have decided to not sell to us and put their home back on the market at that point. If they did that we’d lose the house and would have had to find a temporary place to live while we continued to house hunt, move twice, or find a furnished apartment. The thought of having to any of that was just overwhelming to me. All of this was already taking so much of my time my time and energy, to have to find somewhere to live temporarily would have been terrible.

CLOSING

I emailed Joe (I tried to call him at his office although he never picked up) numerous times making sure we were on track to close, that there wasn’t anything else he needed from me, that everything was going smoothly, he said yes. I told him we would be out of town, we were moving our stuff our of our apartment early and it will be boxed up for the two weeks before closing — I needed to know any loose ends before I left (on the work trip) because we were packing up our stuff. He gave me no indication that we wouldn’t close on time.

We moved all of our stuff into the PODS container five days before we officially had to be out of our apartment (2 weeks before we closed) because I was leaving for LA (a trip planned before I knew we were moving) and I wasn’t going to make my husband move our stuff alone. He stayed in the apartment for a few days (with a mattress and the dog) until he met me in Palm Springs where I was speaking at a conference. We literally didn’t have anywhere to live, our stuff was in a container, Hemingway was with a friend, and we were staying at the Ritz-Carlton Pentagon City (a collaboration I did with them) for two nights after we got back from Palm Springs before we closed on the house.

While I was in Palm Springs, literally 30 minutes before I was supposed to speak on my panel, I get a message from Joe telling me we weren’t going to be able to close that Friday (we were flying back to DC the next day). I’m sorry, WHAT!?! It’s Tuesday. You’re telling me we aren’t going to close, THIS FRIDAY. The day we have the container with all of our stuff in it scheduled to be delivered to our new house, the day that all of the utilities get transferred to our name. That day. The closing date HE approved, the day I’d been asking if we were on track for this entire time. That day!?!

I was trying not to freak out as it was 105 degrees, I was standing outside in a jumpsuit and full makeup about to go speak to an audience of travel professionals. I call my Realtor (ga-bless her) and she was LIVID and told me she was going to get to the bottom of it. She had warned me from the beginning to not work with my big bank and that I should work with a smaller bank who valued their customers and had a more personal approach. But we had had such a good experience with our bank the first time around, we were going to get a discount on certain fees because we had been members of that bank for so long, and I really just wanted to be able to have all my accounts in one place — which Joe assured me they would never sell my mortgage to another bank. So I stayed with our big bank (clearly a mistake).

THE BOSS

My Realtor said forget Joe, and she’d call his boss and figure this out. She didn’t like Joe from the very beginning because he wouldn’t talk to her, he wouldn’t respond to her emails, he wouldn’t communicate with her at all. All the things she wanted to take care of for me with our mortgage, he wouldn’t let her. When we bought our first home ten years ago, our Realtors did most of the conversations with our mortgage officer, but Joe was forcing me to do all the work she was supposed to be doing for me.

So I call Joe, leave a VERY long message (because of course he didn’t answer) on his answering machine (knowing it would be recorded for documentation) about how I didn’t understand why we weren’t closing on time, he had assured me we would, I had provided him all the documents within 24 hours, he never answered my questions, etc. etc. etc. Basically verbal documentation of how he sucked and royally messed up.

Then I called his boss and left a very similar message for her (yet very professional). I said I had everything detailed in my emails that I was happy to forward to her showing the dates and times of all of my responses and my unanswered questions and his non-response to my questions, his approval of the closing dates, etc. and that this was absolutely ridiculous, etc. etc. etc. until her machine literally cut me off.

Then I run in to go do my panel (mind you I was HEATED), I network with people in the industry after my panel considering this is the very moment I am literally there for, I come back outside, and I get ahold of Joe’s boss, a badass woman I might add, and she was looking into it. She knew it was his/the bank’s fault and apologized for Joe and said it was unacceptable. At this point I felt a little relief because I knew I wasn’t crazy, and that he had in fact messed everything up and was not doing it right. I told her about how we had everything ready to move in on Friday, we were in a hotel until then, etc. She said the bank would take care of the costs of whatever we incurred because of all of this. In my head I was like YA YOU WILL but obviously didn’t say that out loud.

RENT BACK

Basically Joe didn’t know what he was doing, wasn’t on top of it, and had truly fucked up our mortgage. She admitted that to me in so many words. She told me that we weren’t going to be able to close that Friday no matter what. So my Realtor had to negotiate a rent-back agreement from the sellers immediately so that we could still move in on Friday, but we would rent the house from them until we closed, with a new closing date of the following Friday. A rent-back agreement isn’t uncommon, it wasn’t a big deal, just the last-minuteness of it was. The sellers could have said no, although they made a little extra money but had to wait another week to close.

I could handle the rent back, I just didn’t want to have to move twice, find something short-term, and all of the calls and things that came with it. So while physically the move date was the same and turned out totally fine, the new woman in charge of finishing out the mortgage had a new slew of questions for me (a different woman from Joe’s boss — both awesome ladies).

MORE PAPERWORK

Joe hadn’t uploaded a lot of the paperwork that I’d sent him (you know, the paperwork we signed and sent over twice) to our account, so she was asking for almost all of the paperwork from me, again. For a third time. I shit you not. I, of course, forwarded her the emails from weeks before that I had sent to him with all the proper documents. I wanted her to know that I had my shit together, I did my part in an extremely timely manner, and this situation was HIS doing. Then she had another set of questions and documents she needed from me that he had never asked for. Mind you, this is all happening the week AFTER the date we were supposed to close on. Ya.

One of the things on the list, a question that had already been asked of me, and I had given my response in email to Joe, was why was my name different. You mean from 12 years ago WHEN I GOT MARRIED. I had even asked Joe back when I first answered the question weeks ago if he needed a copy of my marriage license and/or certificate and that I was happy to provide those documents to prove the name change. He never asked for either and never mentioned that an email response of the question wasn’t sufficient. She literally asked me to type out a letter stating why my name was different. Yes, a two sentence letter, stating I had gotten married, taken my husband’s name, and I needed to sign it and scan it and send it back. SMH, ok whatever, I guess that is more official than a marriage license?

I asked her, why didn’t Joe ask me all of these or get these documents weeks ago? Why weren’t these document requests and questions given to me like literally day one. Here we are the week AFTER our first closing date and you’re just now telling me all of these things you need from me? I gave her all the answers and documents she needed as fast as I could, except one. They asked for my business license. I was like, no big deal, I have a digital copy that my lawyer had filed for me a few years prior, piece of cake. I pull it up, look it over — it’s expired.

First of all, I didn’t even know that my business license would expire. Since my lawyer filed it when he created my LLC at the same time I hadn’t even looked at the business license since the day he sent it to me. He did all the paperwork for my LLC and business license, so I didn’t realize they were separate. I knew I had a business license, and I actually had thought that I renewed it with my accountant recently. I pull out the receipt for what I thought was the payment for my business license renewal with my accountant, I had even written “business license renewal 2 years” on the top of the paper. I came to realize that it was the renewal of my LLC, not my business license, that they were separate, and to be renewed separately. Great.

At this point, I didn’t technically have my DC address anymore because I didn’t live in DC, but I did have my office address which was in DC. So I could just go get a new business license with my office address. I go to the DC Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs (DCRA) where they tell me I have to have a Certificate of Occupancy for my DC office to get a business license. The problem (I found out) with that, is that the Certificate of Occupancy my landlord had given me from the previous tenant (that I needed to get my own), had the wrong address on it (my landlord didn’t even realize it was the wrong address until I pointed it out to them), so now they were having to get a new Certificate of Occupancy for my office, and it was having to be inspected and zoned by DCRA again since it had been 10 years since the previous one. Basically, it was out of my hands and it would take weeks/months to get a new one. So I couldn’t get a Certificate of Occupancy that day (it is actually STILL going through the zoning process as I write this). Basically, I couldn’t get a new business license in DC any time soon.

I mean of ALL THE THINGS. I needed that document ASAP so I thought, I’m moving to Virginia, I’ll just switch to a Virginia business, I’m going to be working from home now half of the time anyway and will eventually switch to an additional office in VA, it actually makes sense to do this. I go fill out the paperwork at the Virginia office, and they tell me, they can’t use my DC LLC, I have to get a Virginia LLC to finish the application. I should have known…

It’s already the afternoon by this point and to get my Virginia LLC, while I can do it online, I have to print it out. My printer is at my office in DC. It is beginning to be rush hour in DC. Driving back into the city to my office in traffic-ridden Georgetown to print one piece of paper and then drive back out to Virginia during rush hour wasn’t going to happen — the bank wanted my documents ASAP. I needed a printer for my home, so I went to Staples, literally bought a printer, went home applied for a Virginia LLC online, printed out my certificate, went back to the business office to finish my application for a Virginia business license (this is all in the same day), and I’m thinking it’s all good until she says, “my manager will approve this and you will be mailed a copy or your business license in the next 10 business days.” Nooooooooo!?! I don’t have 10 business days! I need it today!

I thought you have got to be kidding me. I really prided myself on having my shit together for my business, and if this expired business license causes our closing date to be pushed back again I think I’m going to have a heart attack. I was also additionally annoyed that I wasn’t asked for this document SIX WEEKS PRIOR so I could have taken care of it in a less stressful manner.

So I call the woman who was finishing out my mortgage process and I was just completely honest with her. I tell her how I thought I had renewed it, but it was in fact my LLC renewal, yada yada, I wouldn’t have the final document for 10 business days. But I did have the application that the business office said I could use in place of it, and I had my Virginia LLC paperwork, I had all my tax documents for years, my business account was with them — WHAT MORE DID THEY NEED!?! Why was this one license so important — especially since they didn’t ask for it in the first place weeks ago!

To her credit she was very kind and totally sympathetic. She said there was one more thing we could do. She asked if I been working with the same accountant for two years — yes I had. He would need to write her a letter, that had very strict specifications that she would walk him through on the phone so that he wouldn’t have to do it twice. He had to write it on business letterhead and basically tell the bank that I was a legitimate business and he had been doing my taxes for over two years.

One problem.

My accountant was on vacation.

You know when anything that could go wrong does go wrong. That’s what this felt like. Like a bad movie. But I wasn’t giving up. I mean, we had already moved in, we had negotiated a rent back from the owners, this mortgage was going to happen and I was going to put pressure on the bank (who had fucked it all up in the first place) to make this happen on the second closing date that THEY proposed. They set the second closing date — not me.

Luckily my accountant was due back that week and he was so kind and got the letter done as soon as he could. Phew. My problem solved. I thought we were home free! That was literally the last thing on the list they had asked for, everything else I had already provided as soon as they had asked for it. I mean after all that, what else could they possibly need? What else could go wrong?!?

Hahaha. More problems!

So apparently the bank (or the underwriters) will do a salary/job confirmation again a day or two before they finally approve a mortgage, just in case something happens and someone loses their job or whatever right before buying a house. They did this for my husband, but one of the numbers on the document (that was provided to the bank by a third party) was wrong. It didn’t match his W2, and I was like, the W2 is right, obviously, his paycheck is direct deposited into our account that we have AT YOUR BANK. You can LITERALLY SEE how much he made last year in your own system and see that it matches the W2. This was an issue because the third party company who provided the document (of course) has no real person to answer the phone, nor a customer service center, and another letter had to be written by someone at my husband’s office stating that he does still work there, yada yada, two more days of stress but we got it done at the last possible minute.

You would think that would be it, right?

MORE PROBLEMS AND A HOLE

On Wednesday, two days before we are supposed to close, (our closing appointment was for 3 pm that Friday), the woman finishing our mortgage calls me and says that she doesn’t think we qualify for a VA loan. I’m sorry WHAT DID YOU JUST SAY!?! We had already given them the proper paperwork that stated we did in fact qualify for a VA loan, they resubmitted it (why, why resubmit it?) and she said it came back that we didn’t qualify. So I’m having a not-so-minor panic attack, I’m trying not to cry (I’m crying), I get off the phone with her and I look down (I’m sitting in my car) and I kid you not — there is a hole in my pants.

In the crotch.

I am not kidding you. I was wearing Lululemon leggings about to drive to my gym and do a CrossFit workout and there was a large hole in the crotch of my pants. I mean the timing of this hole. Not funny then, hilarious now. (By the way, Lululemon gave me a new pair!)

I get to my husband (who was at the gym), tell him the news, he (totally calm & collected like he always is) was like that’s bullshit and we do a Google search in 5 seconds we find the website where it CLEARLY states we that we qualify for a VA loan, and I send her the link. She figures it out — oops — they forgot to submit BOTH of the forms needed. We do in fact qualify. I’m pretty sure I aged about a year during this hour.

Problem solved but my blood is BOILING. Isn’t this like the VERY FIRST THING the mortgage person should do before even PRE-approving someone for a VA loan — make sure they qualify for it first!?! Not two days before your second closing date…

You guys, I just can’t make this shit up.

THE SECOND CLOSING DAY

So now, everything has been submitted, resubmitted, signed digitally and physically, letters have been written, there is nothing we can do but wait for our bank to give us the final approval, send the paperwork to our title company, and give our Realtor verbal confirmation for our closing so she can assure the seller’s Realtor that everything is fine.

Closing day arrives, the closing appointment was at 3 pm. But apparently the bank was “still working on our loan” and didn’t send the paperwork over to the title company until literally 4:55 pm that day.

Drama until the end people!

We close just after 5 pm, we are annoyed at the situation but relieved to finally close.

And while you would literally think that that would be the end of this story, it’s not.

IT’S OVER, NOT!

One of the MAIN reasons I wanted to stay with our big bank was because I like having all of our accounts on one online platform. It just makes paying bills easier, less websites to login to, etc. Joe assured me that they wouldn’t sell our mortgage, that they would definitely keep it in house. That was literally one of his selling points to me day one when he pre-approved us.

I go online to pay our first mortgage payment a few days early and our mortgage account had disappeared. I assumed it was just a weird glitch or something, I call the bank, nope — THEY SOLD THE MORTGAGE to another company and I should have gotten a LETTER IN THE MAIL. Hmmm, ok well I don’t even get my bank statements in the mail, so why would you send this VERY IMPORTANT INFORMATION IN THE FUCKING MAIL.

I literally get 5 pieces of junk mail every single day, and they are all from the bank and credit cards (who feels me on this!?!). Literally all of them. Daily. I think the banks and credit card companies marketing mailers literally keep the post office and envelope companies afloat. I usually shred all of this junk mail right away or stack them up and shred them every couple of weeks. So I go through literally 100 pieces of junk mail to find this one letter (that looks like all the other junk mail from the bank) telling me who they sold our mortgage to. Luckily our new mortgage company has a super easy website, I login in, set up our new account, and it’s all fine. But just the fact that Joe assured me they wouldn’t sell it, and then before our VERY FIRST PAYMENT they sell it off. I just couldn’t even believe it. I realize he had nothing to do with it, but still.

THE GOOD NEWS

Now that we are at end of the saga that was our mortgage experience, the good news is, I’m sure your experience won’t be anything like that. It’s like how reading all the horror stories is good so that your experience seems like a piece of cake!

The great thing is, we absolutely LOVE our new home and going through all of that was worth it. Also, because of all the issues, the bank ended up giving us 1% of our loan back to help pay for any of the expenses we had incurred because of Joe messing up or mortgage (thanks to Joe’s awesome boss). And luckily that 1% was more than the cost of our expenses of the rent back, so having gone through all of that, it was nice that we got a little compensation for it because the stress of all of it probably took a year off my life.

So with that, let me give you some tips if you are looking to get a mortgage and buy a property. Obviously our case was complicated by being a VA loan and me having my own business, and Joe the idiot mortgage guy — but a lot of you probably have side gigs (even if it’s just teaching a yoga class here and there) and you’ll need to have all of this paperwork ready if you are buying property regardless.

If you have a bunch of cash to put down on your property, you are getting a normal loan, and have normal jobs and no side gigs, this process probably won’t be nearly as complicated for you — clearly ours was a perfect storm.

TIPS TO PREPARE FOR GETTING A MORTGAGE

(Especially if you are getting a VA loan or are an entrepreneur.)

1 // Use a bank and a mortgage person that you can trust, and that actually knows what they are doing.

In my case, clearly Joe didn’t have a clue, nor did he follow through with simple things like uploading the documents I had sent him twice. (We found out later he was “new”.) Looking back, my instincts on him started to kick in within a few weeks and I didn’t do enough about it. Had I contacted his boss earlier, I probably could have saved myself some stress and we possibly could have closed on time. Don’t ignore your gut!

2 // Have copies of several years of your taxes ready to go.

3 // Ask which documents need wet signatures versus digital signatures.

4 // Make sure all of your business documents are up to date.

5 // Ask your accountant or bookkeeper to create a Profit & Loss Statement and a YTD Balance Sheet for the previous 3 months of your business if you don’t have one already.

If you don’t have an accountant you can look up how to do these documents online. You might even need these documents for small Schedule C jobs, like teaching workout classes. I also had to sign and date these documents.

6 // Have one folder (digital and physical) for everything having to do with this process.

If you have to resend something or reference it, then you don’t have to go looking for it again.

7 // During underwriting, don’t spend abnormally.

During the process of underwriting, they watch your accounts very closely, so if you do any weird spending, they are going to ask you about it and they will be suspicious. That’s their job as an underwriter, but anything weird could make the process longer.

8 // Get all of your documents together.

Here are some documents that you might need to have on hand: taxes for 2-3 years; credit reports; W2’s; paycheck stubs; proof of rent payments; list of assets and debts; profit & loss statements; balance sheet; paperwork for any additional income; gift letter (this is usually if money is being gifted to you from someone for your down payment); your Realtor should have a signed sales agreement; and if you have paperwork from a divorce, bankruptcy, or apparently a name change — have all of that together.

9 // Have extra money in your account.

Meaning, money you aren’t going to use for the down payment or closing costs. They want to see that you have money and can pay the first few mortgage payments!

10 // Have a list of invoices out.

If you are a small business like me, you might have a lot of money out in invoices that will be paid to you within a few months. This should be reflected on your balance sheet, but you might also be asked to provide them with the actual invoices as well. I use an online invoicing system where I can easily download PDFs of the invoices I send out, so it was easy for me to hand these over, but just something to think about if you don’t have a good invoicing system in place.

 

If you are a mortgage broker, I’d love to hear your thoughts about getting a mortgage in today’s climate and if you have any tips I didn’t mention, please leave them in the comments!

If you have a horror mortgage story, please tell me in the comments. We can commiserate together!

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Photo by Emma Weiss

To protect the people involved I did not mention the bank, or any of the names of anyone involved. Joe was not his real name.