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First you need to know if you have good credit and what are your assets. What can you afford to pay for down payment and closing costs.

Second find a reputable mortgage broker. Check with the BBB and with your state's Office of Financial Institutions to see if the mortgage broker is in good standing. Getting preapproved by a mortgage broker is better as they deal with several lenders, this will save you from having your credit pulled too many times which lowers your credit scores and could eventually stop you from getting the mortgage you want.

Once you are preapproved and have a letter to that effect--start looking for a home, or put in a purchase contract on the home you have already found. You will need: your last 30 days worth of pay stubs (in consecutive date order), 2004 and 2005 W2s, (if self employed you will need your full personal and business federal tax returns), and your last 2 bank statements (all pages) or any other statements where assets are that you are using for the closing, like stocks, mutual funds, or even part of your retirement fund. The lender wants to see that you had to money in your savings and you are not borrowing it without telling them that now you have a new loan.

You will need to find an insurance company for your homeowners insurance. Please call and get estimates as some insurance companies are more expensive than others. Once you have the preapproval and a contract, the broker will put everything together and get it to the lender for their confirmation of the approval. If everything you have shown is true, then the final confirmation shouldn't be a problem, and a closing date will be set. Also once you are approved, you do not apply for any credit-no matter what it is until you have signed the closing papers and you have the keys to the house.

The lender has the right to re-pull your credit prior to close if there are new loans (like a car) or new credit cards with or without balances--or you have fallen behind on the payments you already have, Your preapproval will have to be re-run to see if you still qualify for the mortgage. You can be turned down at the very end if your credit has changed! It is a priority that you keep up with the present credit you have and not apply for anything new. Reserves- the lender wants to see that you have somewhere the equivalent of 2 mortgage payments which they consider your 1st and 2nd mortgage payments. This is in case you start spending more money than you should when you first get in the house.

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