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What Documents Do I Need When Applying For A Loan?


If you are in the market for a loan, being prepared and organized will help the lending process move along quicker. Before applying for a loan, here are some steps you can take to prepare yourself!

Know your Credit Score

If you don’t already, you should track your credit score. There is no time like the present to get started!

Knowing your credit score will give you an idea for what type of loan you will qualify for, as well as what type of interest rate you will get for your loan. But, that isn’t the only reason to check on your credit. When reviewing your credit report, you will want to check for any errors. If you spot an error, you can correct it before applying for a loan.

Not sure about where to even start with understanding your credit? Don’t worry; we’ve got your back! Read more about understanding your credit HERE!

Pay Down Debt

We’re not saying you have to pay down all of your debt, but pay down as much as you can. Many lenders don’t want to add additional debt to someone with an already high amount of debt compared to their monthly income. By paying down on your debt, it shows that you are a responsible borrower and a good loan applicant.

When it comes to paying down debt, set a goal to pay down a certain amount before applying for a new loan. Once you have paid down or paid off any debt, provide a statement or letter from the lender as proof.

Explore Your Options

Whether it is a mortgage, auto loan, or personal loan, do your research and explore your options! Don’t go into a loan application blindly. Your financial health is at risk, so do your research and ask questions.

Think of a Plan B

Don’t assume that your loan is a done deal. You might get rejected. If you do get rejected, think of a backup plan. There are many factors that play into loan application approval, and you may need to make some adjustments to your plans or take some time to improve your overall financial picture in order to be approved. If you are denied a loan, don’t be afraid to ask for help on how to get approved in the future!

Now that you have a good understanding of your credit score, you have paid down on your debt, and explored your options, it is time to apply for your loan! No matter what type of loan you are applying for, you will need to make sure you have all of the proper paperwork needed to process the loan.

Gather Your Documents

Most loan applications require the same types of information across the board, but each loan type also requires information specific to the type. Let’s take a look at some of the most common types of loans and the documents you will need when applying:


A home loan requires a lot of paperwork. You will need the following when applying for a mortgage, at least during the approval process.

  • Proof of Identification- Lenders must verify your identity to know if you are eligible to do business with them. These are the types of identification accepted:
  • Driver’s License
  • Social Security Card
  • Passport
  • State ID
  • Military ID
  • Government Issued Photo ID
  • Tax Returns- Mortgage lenders want to see your full financial picture. Generally, you will want to provide two years’ worth of tax returns.
  • Proof of Income- In addition to checking your credit score, lenders want to make sure that you have reliable income to make your monthly payments on your loan. You can provide proof of income by bringing the following documents:
    • Bank Statements
    • Pay Stubs
    • W-2 Tax forms
    • Copies of Income Tax Returns
    • Verification from employer
    • 1099 Tax Forms-If you are self-employed
  • Employer Contact Information- You will likely fill out this information in your loan application, but employer contact information is needed to verify your employment status. Lenders may require your employer to sign pay stubs verifying your proof of income.
  • Personal Contact Information- This information will be included in the loan application, but it is good to have an additional copy of your personal contact information to provide to the lender.
  • Bank Statements and Other Assets- These documents allow lenders to calculate your debt-to-income ratio. This shows the lender your ability to be financially sound after paying the down payment and closing costs associated with the mortgage. You will want to include any documentation for any bank accounts, investment accounts, credit card accounts, student loans, or any other loans.
  • Gift Letter- Your friends and family might help you purchase a house by giving you money. If that is the case, you will need to provide a written confirmation that the money is a gift and not a loan. The letter should include the amount of the gift as well as their relationship to you.
  • Renting History- If you don’t already own a home, some lenders will request proof that you can pay on time. They may ask you to provide a year’s worth of rent checks, or they may request your landlord to provide documentation to show you paid your rent on time.
  • Other items- Depending on your situation, these are some other documents that you may be asked to provide:
    • Alimony or Child Support- If you rely on this as a type of income, you will need to provide a copy of the court order along with bank statements or canceled checks to show that payments are regularly made.
    • Divorce Decree- This shows if you are making child support or alimony payments.
    • Bankruptcy or Foreclosure- If you have one of these on your credit history, you may have to provide proof to your lender that your debts have been discharged and are no longer outstanding. If you are eligible for a new mortgage, you may have to provide proof that the property deed has been transferred.
    • Self-employed, freelancers, and independent contractors- If you are self-employed you will need to provide additional documents as proof of income. Be sure to talk with your lender before applying and ask what types of documents are needed for the application process.

Are you a first-time homebuyer? First things first, Congratulations! We know the home buying process can be overwhelming, but we want you to know that ēCO is here to help! Before you jump in with both feet, it’s important to know what to expect. We have laid it all out for you HERE

Auto Loan

Auto Loans don’t require as much documentation as a mortgage loan, but you will still need the following:

  • Proof of Identification
  • Proof of Income
  • Employer Contact Information
  • Personal Contact Information
  • Any Documents from the Dealer or Person Selling- Additional documents needed varies depending on the type of sale that has occurred. Be sure to have the title of the vehicle and a bill of sale on hand. Again, because this varies from lender to lender, it would be beneficial to call ahead and talk to a loan officer about your specific situation and verify the necessary documents for the loan application.
  • The VIN Number-This is the car’s vehicle identification number, and it is the identifying code for a specific automobile. The VIN serves as the car’s fingerprint, displaying the car’s unique features, specifications, and manufacturer.
  • Mileage-The mileage on a vehicle serves as a quick way to get a good idea of how far along the vehicle is in its lifespan. The mileage also helps determine the value of the car.

Personal Loan

Personal loans can be taken out for whatever you want. These loans can be used to pay bills, purchase gifts, go on vacation, purchase new furniture, or get you through a tough time. When applying for a personal loan you will need the following documents:

  • Proof of Identification
  • Tax Returns (in some cases)
  • Proof of Income
  • Employer Contact Information
  • Personal Contact Information
  • Bank Statements and Assets

Motor Home & RV’s

Itching to get out and explore? A motor home or RV might be exactly what you are looking for! Applying for a loan for a Motor Home or RV is similar to an auto loan. There are just a few extra things you will need for the loan application:

  • Proof of Identification
  • Proof of Income
  • Employer Contact Information
  • Personal Contact Information
  • Any Documents from the Dealer or Person Selling
  • Brand
  • Landlord’s waiver- If the unit is not parked on personal property of the person taking out the loan, a landlord’s waiver lets the lender know where the unit is parked and gives the lender permission to come onto the property in the case of repossession. The waiver is available upon request at the financial institution and must be signed by the landlord where the unit is parked.
  • The VIN Number
  • Mileage


If you are longing to feel the wind in your face as you roar down the open road, a motorcycle loan might be on your mind. Be sure to have all the information you need when applying for a motorcycle loan. Similar to an auto loan, you will need the following when applying:

  • Proof of Identification
  • Proof of Income
  • Employer Contact Information
  • Personal Contact Information
  • Any Documents from the Dealer or Person Selling
  • Brand
  • The VIN Number
  • Mileage

Boats & Other Personal Watercrafts

A weekend on the water may be just what you need! Already looking for a boat or other recreational water vehicles to kick-off your summer fun? Once you pick out your watercraft, you will want to make sure you have these documents when applying for a loan:

  • Proof of Identification
  • Proof of Income
  • Employer Contact Information
  • Personal Contact Information
  • Brand
  • The Serial Number/VIN Number for boat, trailer, and motor- Boats and motors have serial numbers that are specific codes to identify the boat and motor. Similar to a VIN number, the serial number serves as the boat and motor’s fingerprint, displaying the unique features, specifications, and manufacturer. The trailer that a boat is hauled on has a VIN number and is needed for the loan application process as well.
  • The Registration- Boat registration acts like a boat’s license plate and is required by law. Rules and guidelines for boat registration are dictated by the state in which the vessel will operate in long-term. The registration helps verify the seller of the boat and prove that the boat is legally registered to operate.
  • Pictures of the Boat, Motor, and Trailer- If you are purchasing a boat from an individual, rather than a dealer, you will need photos of the boat, motor, and trailer. These photos verify that you are taking out a loan for a boat and not using the loan for another use. This also helps verify the serial and VIN numbers needed from the boat, motor, and trailer.

There are various situations and factors that play into every loan application. Plus, every lender is different, so you may need other documents when starting the loan application process. Take the time to call your lender, discuss your unique situation, and ask for a list of documents they need in order to process the loan.

Be sure to check out all of ēCO’s lending options! You can access rates, more information, and applications on each loan option by simply clicking on it.

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