Ask the expert: How much paperwork is needed for a mortgage application? Lenders are trying to reduce the amount of required paperwork for mortgages, but the list is still long. It is wise to gather the documents before you apply for a mortgage. * W-2 forms for one or two years if you collect a paycheck. * Self-employed borrowers may have to submit a current-year profit and loss statement, especially if the year is more than half over or they haven't filed their prior year's tax return. * Profit and loss statements or 1099 forms, if you own a business. * Recent paycheck stubs. Loan guidelines typically specify one month of verified income. Employees who are paid electronically may be able to print out paycheck stubs. * You will be expected to provide tax returns, including all the pages and schedules for one or two years. * A list of debts tells the lender how much you owe each month, for credit cards, student loans, car loans, child support payments, and the minimum monthly payments and balances. * The lender then calculates your debt-to-income ratio, which is key to the loan decision. * Current bank statements, and possibly previous bank statements will identify the source of your down payment money. If you saved up for your down payment, without gifts from family, your bank record will show that. * Renters will be asked to supply 12 months of cancelled rent checks and bank statements showing that the rent was paid on time. * The lender will check your credit reports. So, months or weeks before applying for a mortgage, check your own credit report and correct any errors. * A list of assets including bank accounts, mutual fund statements, real estate and auto titles, brokerage account statements, and records of any other investments or assets.