What is the Loan Application?

The loan application is a document that borrowers fill out to help lenders determine their financial standing and make an informed decision about lending them money. It requires a lot of documentation, including income, assets and debt-to-income ratios.


Shop around to find the best lender for you. Look for lenders that offer prequalification, which allows you to check your rate without a hard inquiry on your credit report.


Getting prequalified or preapproved for a loan is a great way to help determine your budget and what home or auto financing options you have. While the processes and definitions can vary between lenders, getting prequalified or preapproved generally means that you are likely to qualify for financing and will be able to purchase your home or car with ease.

During the prequalification process, you provide basic financial information and describe your credit, debts, income and assets. The lender then estimates how much you can borrow based on this information. The lender may also perform a credit check, although this is typically what is known as a “soft inquiry” and does not affect your credit score.

The prequalification process is often a quick and easy one, and many lenders are able to give results in just an hour. The lender may ask for a few pay stubs, profit and loss statements (if self-employed) or bank statements to help them build a full picture of your finances. However, the lender does not usually request tax statements or other detailed documentation like that required during a loan application.

Getting prequalified or preapproved is not the same as a guaranteed loan, and you are still required to complete the more rigorous application process if you decide to proceed with the purchase. If you are able to get your preapproval letter within an hour, it can be a helpful tool during the negotiation process and demonstrate that you are a serious buyer who is capable of securing financing quickly.


The application is the second phase of the loan process, and is typically much more comprehensive than a prequalification form. It asks borrowers for details about their financial status and credit history, including the number of years they’ve been at their current job, income from previous jobs, and the amount of debt they have. In addition, borrowers must verify their identity by providing a government-issued ID and verify their address with documents like utility bills or bank statements.

This information helps lenders assess a borrower’s creditworthiness and determine their capacity to repay their loan. They may also require guarantors and collateral as security in the event that a default occurs.

Lenders will also request detailed documentation regarding a borrower’s business. Depending on the industry, this may include company tax returns and financial statements, as well as a description of the local market and competition. They’ll also want to know how long the company has been in operation and its projected revenue over time.

The application also requires a borrower to list their personal details, such as their Social Security number, current address, and the name of their spouse or domestic partner. The application will also ask about the borrower’s employment status and occupation, as well as their educational background and residence history. In some cases, a loan application will also include questions about co-applicants, who are equal borrowers and are jointly responsible for the repayment of the loan.


The underwriting process is designed to ensure that a lender loans money only to applicants who can afford to repay it. It consists of several steps, and each one is geared towards assessing the risk associated with providing the loan. This is an important process because it protects both the borrower and the lender from financial loss. The underwriting process examines the borrower’s credit history and report, employment stability and income, debt-to-income ratio, assets and liabilities. It is also important to review the documentation submitted during the application process to make sure that it is accurate and complete.

Borrowers are required to submit W-2 forms, tax returns and pay stubs to verify their income and creditworthiness. This information is used to determine if a borrower has enough disposable income to afford the loan payments and their other debts. It is also important to provide documents that prove the borrower’s assets, such as checking, savings and 401k accounts and real estate.

For business loan applications, a lender may require a detailed description of the company and market research, profit and loss statements, balance sheets and personal and corporate tax documents. The underwriter also evaluates the cash flow budget and analyzes other relevant information. It is important to remain accessible during the underwriting phase to answer any questions or requests from the underwriter and other loan professionals.


Once the loan has been approved by the underwriter, you are cleared to close. This usually means that the lender has run your credit and employment history one last time. This is to ensure that nothing has changed since your application was approved. Major changes like taking out a new loan, switching jobs or changing the amount of money you make could throw off your approval status and delay closing.

During the closing process, you will be asked to sign your mortgage note and other closing documents. It’s important to review all of these documents before signing them so that you are aware of any terms or conditions you may not have understood during the pre-approval process. It’s also a good idea to take inventory of all the documents you will need for closing and make sure you have everything together before starting this process.

You will also receive a Closing Disclosure three days before the actual closing date. This document lists all of the final fees, costs and credits that you will need to pay to complete the transaction. It’s a great idea to compare the information on this document with the Loan Estimate that you received within three days of finishing your loan application. If there are any discrepancies between these two items, you should address them right away to avoid any delays in the process.