One of the first steps you should take as a potential Vancouver home buyer is getting a loan pre-approval before you start viewing homes.
This will reveal the correct price range, the amount of down payment required, and the type of loan you'll need. You won't waste time looking at homes that simply won't fit.
If you save every piece of paper you've ever owned, then all you'll need to do is gather up the proper pieces to take along to the lender. If you don't, then start planning well ahead of time so you won't experience delays.
You'll probably need last year's income taxes – if you didn't keep a copy, then you'll need to send for one. This can take a little time. Note: If you're self-employed, you might need 2 or 3 years' returns.
At a minimum, you'll need your last month's pay stubs and two years of W-2's or 1099 forms. You'll also need all the pages from your last 3 bank statements – for all of your accounts. If any of your deposits fail to show their source, you'll need to document where the money came from. (If you sold your boat or motor home to get down payment money, have a copy of the bill of sale ready.)
If your income comes from retirement funds or Social Security, you'll need documentation.
If you're divorced, you'll need a copy of the divorce decree and proof of any alimony or child support payments.
If part of your funds will be coming as a gift to you, you need careful documentation. Keep a copy of the check, the deposit slip, and the withdrawal. You may also have to show proof that your donor had those funds available and "seasoned."
Other documentation may also be required, so check with your lender. Tell him or her your specific situation – as in where your money comes from – and ask what you'll need to bring in to speed the approval process.
Getting pre-approved for a loan to buy your new home in Vancouver doesn't have to be a long, drawn-out process, as long as you plan ahead and present all the documents your lender needs.