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How to apply for a mortgage

About your mortgage loan application

The first step when you are applying for a mortgage is to choose a lender like Freedom Mortgage who will help you select the loan that’s right for you.

If you are buying a house, you’ll likely want to wait until your offer as been accepted before you apply for a mortgage. If you are refinancing, you can apply for a new mortgage any time when it makes sense for you. Homeowners often think about refinancing when current interest rates are significantly lower than the rate on the mortgage they have now.

Once you have made your decision, you are ready to start the mortgage application process. This process begins with filling out a Uniform Residential Loan Application with your lender.

About the Uniform Residential Loan Application (Form 1003)

Most lenders will ask you to complete Fannie Mae’s Uniform Residential Loan Application (also known as the 1003 Mortgage Application Form) when you want to buy a home with a conventional, VA, FHA, or USDA loan. Lenders will ask you to complete this form for many types of refinances too. The form will ask you to provide information about:

  • The type of mortgage and terms of the loan you want.
  • The property and purpose of the loan (such as purchase or refinance).
  • You and any co-borrowers on the loan including your employment history, income and expenses, and assets and liabilities.

Form 1003 will ask you to make certain declarations, such as whether you are a U.S. citizen. You will also be asked optional questions about your race, ethnicity, and sex which the government uses to monitor compliance with fair housing and other laws. You are not required to answer these questions, you can choose not to answer them, and not answering these questions will not affect your eligibility to have your mortgage application approved.

You and any co-borrowers on the loan will be asked to sign the mortgage application to affirm the information on the form is true and correct to the best of your knowledge.

Reviewing this form in advance can help you understand what information is required before you begin the mortgage application process. For an example of a Uniform Residential Loan Application for a single family home, see the Fannie Mae website.

At Freedom Mortgage, we use the Uniform Residential Loan Application. Our experienced Loan Advisors can make the process easier by helping you complete your mortgage application over the phone. Call us today and we can help you!

Documents needed for your mortgage application

Lenders like Freedom Mortgage will also typically ask you to document the information on your mortgage application by providing copies of financial records.

  • For income verification, we may ask for copies of W-2 forms from current and previous employers, recent pay stubs, and income tax returns. If you are self-employed, we may ask for copies of your personal and business federal tax returns, copies of 1099 forms, and other financial documents about your business. If your income includes alimony or child support, we might ask for the court order as well as bank statements or other documents that show these payments. Reveal alimony or child support ONLY IF you want it considered in determining your qualification for a loan.
  • For debt verification, we’ll want to know all your monthly debt payments for things like car loans, student loans, credit cards, mortgage payments, and other debts. We may ask you for documents that confirm these debt payments.
  • For asset verification, we often look at bank, retirement account, and investment account statements. If you are using money given to you by a relative to make your down payment, we may ask you for a gift letter that confirms you are not expected to repay this gift.
  • For credit verification, we typically get your credit information directly from the credit reporting agencies. We’ll just need your permission to request this information.

Some borrowers may need to provide additional documents. If you have a bankruptcy or foreclosure in your financial history, we are likely to ask for information about them. Non-citizens may need to document their residency or immigration status.

Many Freedom Mortgage customers can securely upload their mortgage application documents using our convenient electronic platform. We’ll work with you, so you understand what documents you need to provide and how to give them to us. Learn more about mortgage documents.

What is a mortgage application fee?

Mortgage application fees can also be called "lender fees" or "mortgage origination fees." These are fees a lender may charge you to review your mortgage application. The cost of these fees varies by lender. Sometimes you can include the cost of your mortgage application fee in your loan amount. Other times you may be required to pay the fee in cash at closing.

What happens after you complete your mortgage application?

Once we have your completed mortgage application and documents, we’ll send you a set of documents called Initial Disclosures which will provide details about your loan. We’ll need you to sign these disclosures and provide your intent to proceed with your application. Many times, you can sign these disclosures using our convenient online document platform. Learn more about what happens after the mortgage application.

Last reviewed and updated June 2023 by Freedom Mortgage Corporation.

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