What documents do you need to refinance your mortgage? A checklist
Our goal is to give you the tools and the confidence you need to improve your finances. While we do receive compensation from our partner lenders, whom we will always identify, all opinions are ours. Credible Operations, Inc. NMLS # 1681276, is referred to herein as “Credible”.
When the demand for refinancing increases, the process slows down. According to the latest data from ICE Mortgage Technology, refinance closings can last around seven weeks on average.
But you can streamline the process by gathering all the documentation you might need up front. Lenders typically ask for this information once you submit the mortgage application, so get ready by organizing the paperwork now.
Here are the documents you will need for mortgage refinancing:
Proof of income
Why is this important: Lenders will look at your monthly income to see if you are earning enough to make payments on your new home loan and existing debts, as well as to pay for your living expenses. Your income documents check how much you are receiving and show a trend of your income.
Whether you earn an annual salary or an hourly salary, you will usually receive pay stubs and tax forms from your employer. If you do not have copies in your files, contact your human resources department. Here is what you will need to provide:
- W-2 forms from the previous two years
- 1099s if you have a secondary income
- Pay stubs for the last 30 days
- Bank statements for the last two months
- Signed federal income tax returns (personal) from the previous two years or a signed IRS Form 4506-T
- The names, addresses and telephone numbers of your employers for the past two years
- A written explanation if you have been employed for less than two years or if you have an employment gap
For the self-employed and independent contractors
Self-employed workers – which include freelancers and independent contractors – do not receive W-2 forms or pay stubs from an employer. As a self-employed person, you will need to present other types of documents to verify your income.
You can usually download statements from your business bank account and generate business statements using accounting software. Depending on how you filed your tax returns, you may also have a PDF copy of your tax return or be able to download one from your online tax filing program. Here is what you may need to provide:
- Signed federal income tax returns (personal and potentially business) for the past three years
- Your most recent quarterly or annual income statement
- A list of all trade debts
- Bank statements (personal and professional) for the last two months
- Fannie Mae Form 1084 (potentially)
Credible makes it easy to compare multiple lenders for a new loan. If you are looking to refinance your mortgage, start by checking the prequalified rates on Credible. Checking rates with us is free, secure and has no effect on your credit score.
Why is this important: Insurance documents will show who legally owns the home and whether you have maintained coverage on it.
For home insurance
Your mortgage lender will ask you for a copy of your home insurance report page to make sure your home’s coverage is up to date.
They can also ask for the name and phone number of your insurance agent in case they have any questions. If you don’t have a hard copy on file, you can usually find one by logging into your account or contacting your agent.
To help the lender check if the coverage is sufficient, he may order an appraisal to verify the value of the home. If the value has changed since you purchased your insurance policy, you will need to work with your insurance company and update the coverage limits.
For title insurance
You will need a copy of the registered deed with the names of the legal owners as well as your title insurance, which provides a legal description of your property. Title insurance also helps the lender check your property taxes, which are included in your debt-to-income ratio (DTI).
Your title insurance policy must be included in your closing documents. If you’ve misplaced them, contact your original lender or title company and ask if they have any copies on file.
Why is this important: Lenders pull your credit scores to help them gauge how well you’ve handled borrowed money in the past. They will also review your credit reports to check for items such as current debt balances and negative credit events.
Your lender usually only needs your verbal permission to withdraw your credit, but you may need to produce additional documents to support the credit check:
- A letter explaining any late payments, collections, judgments, or other deviating items on your credit reports.
- Bankruptcy discharge documents if there is one in your credit history.
- Statements showing your payment history for utilities, telephone, cable TV, auto insurance and other expenses.
Don’t miss: Minimum credit score required to refinance your home
Why is this important: Your lender will calculate your debt-to-income ratio by looking at your current debt balance. This will help the lender determine if you can meet the monthly mortgage payment.
Check your accounts online for your most recent billing statements, or contact each lender for a copy. You will need it to show your financial obligations:
- The most recent mortgage statement for the home you are refinancing and any other property you own.
- The most recent billing statement for any outstanding home equity loan or line of credit.
- The most recent monthly statement for accounts on your credit reports, such as student loans, car loans, personal loans, and credit cards.
- Any debt that is not on your credit reports, such as payday loans.
State of heritage
Why is this important: Your lender will need to check if you have the funds to cover the costs of closing the new mortgage. And in some cases, you may need to have up to 12 months of cash reserves in the bank. These are meant to help you cover mortgage payments in a financial emergency.
Include recent monthly statements of any account you will be withdrawing money from or in which you have placed your cash reserves. These may include:
- Bank statements for checking or savings accounts
- Retirement account statements
- Brokerage account statements
- Deposit statement certificates