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What Paperwork do you Need to Buy a House?

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A real estate purchase is a relatively complex transaction that involves many people, documents and deadlines. To ensure a smooth and stress-free experience as a first time buyer, it’s always best to get organized before embarking on your property search.

To start, you’ll want to obtain all the necessary paperwork . Here’s a list of the documents you’ll need to buy a home, at each stage of the buying process.

Getting a Mortgage Pre-approval

  • Proof of Income – income statements for the past 2 years, recent pay stubs showing income, as well as any additional income such as bonuses, tax returns, passive income.
  • Proof of Assets – bank statements, investment account statements showing sufficient savings for closing costs, cash reserves.
  • Credit Report – These are requested directly by the bank. A mortgage lender will reserve the lowest interest rates for customers with a credit score of 740 or higher. Find out more about credit scores. 
  • Employment Verification –  Pay stubs, name and contact details of current employer, tax reports. Self employed borrowers need to provide additional paperwork about their income.
  • Other Documentation – Diver’s license, social security number, signature allowing the lender to obtain a credit report.

At the Mortgage Approval Stage

These documents are usually required after your offer to purchase has been accepted. However, at times you may be asked to produce them at the pre-approval stage. Your safest bet is to have them ready so that you can provide them as quickly as possible.

  • Profit and loss statements if you own a company
  • Federal tax returns for the past 2 years
  • Recent pay stubs
  • Complete list of debts such as credit cards, student loans, car loans, child support payments, monthly expenses
  • Complete list of assets including mutual funds, real estate investments, brokerage statements, and other investments

Get started on your pre-approval process here.

When Making an Offer

  • Your ID (Driver’s license or Passport)
  • Your Pre-approval – Although optional, a pre-approval shows the seller that you’re serious and qualified. Attaching one to your offer can greatly improve your chances of winning a bidding war.
  • Your signature on the seller’s declaration, indicating that you have reviewed all points
  • Your offer, complete with your price, terms and signature.

At the notarization 

  • 2 pieces of government ID – usually your passport and driving license or medicare card.
  • Your signature on your mortgage (completed a few days before the official notarization)
  • A cheque book to pay the notary, and any adjustments owed to the vendor.


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