Buying a home can be a time-consuming process…and that’s not even counting the house hunting part! But buyers can save themselves time (and headaches) by creating a file folder with information they’ll need handy when they are ready to apply for a loan.

Here are just a few items buyers should keep in their file folder, so they’ll have everything easily accessible when they’re ready to make an offer:

A list of previous addresses for the past two years, and if they were renting, the name(s), address(es), and phone number(s) of their landlord(s).
W-2 forms for the last two years. If they are self-employed or their income is based on commission, they’ll need their tax returns for the last two years complete with schedules and a year-to-date profit and loss statement.
Paycheck stub for the last 30 days
Account number(s), balance(s) and monthly payment(s) for all outstanding creditors (including credit cards, car loans, student loans, etc.)
Bank statements for the last two months, and their most recent asset account statements (i.e., stocks, 401K, etc)

Buyers shouldn’t wait until they’ve found a house to start gathering all the information they’re going to need. Creating a simple file folder with this information now…and keeping it updated as their house hunt progresses…will be something they thank themselves for later.