frequently asked questions

Applying for a mortgage – whether to purchase a new home or refinance your current home – can seem a bit daunting. You’ve got questions… probably a lot of them. That’s okay – ask away! We’ve got the answers. To help you, the StrongBox Home Loans team has compiled a list of some of the most common questions we receive on a regular basis complete with our answers. 

Should I apply for a mortgage before I shop for a house?  

Yes absolutely!  You need to not only know if you qualify but this is our opportunity to manage your expectations and answer key questions, such as “How much home can I afford?,” “What will my monthly payment be?,” “How much cash will I need to close?” and more. Knowing these facts in advance means you can enter the homebuying process with your eyes wide open.

Will you need to pull my credit? 

Yes.  To protect your earnest money and prevent you from paying inspection and appraisal fees unnecessarily, we need to know where your credit stands.  Your credit score will help us determine pricing and your ability to qualify for certain loans.

Why are my credit scores in Credit Karma so much higher than the scores you pulled?  

Unfortunately, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac provide certain criteria to the credit reporting agencies regarding how to score.  That criteria are more stringent than those used to determine consumer-based scores.

 I read that I need to be prepared to provide 20% down payment. Is that true?

The higher the down payment you provide, the greater the likelihood that you’ll receive a better interest rate and lower mortgage payments. However, 20% is out of reach for many homebuyers. Down payments at StrongBox Home Loans start as low as 3% down.

Can I get a gift for my down payment?  

Absolutely!  It’s not uncommon for parents or grandparents to give the gift of a partial or full down payment – particularly to first-time homebuyers. However, gifts are not permitted in the purchase of investment properties.

How long is a loan pre-approval valid?  

Once pre-approved for a loan, you must close within 90 days from a credit inquiry without having to have your credit pulled again – potentially lowering your credit score.

What documents do I need for my pre-approval?

For W2 employees, be prepared to provide 2 years of W2s and 30 days of pay stubs. For self-employed applicants or those who earn 25% or greater in incentive-based pay such as commission or bonus, be prepared to provide 2 years of personal and business tax returns. All borrowers need 2 months of checking, savings, investment, 401k and IRA statements.  Statements must be complete, most recent and consecutive with no missing pages. 

My business makes money, but I don’t always report as much to the IRS. Can I still get a loan?

For most types of loans, you need to provide a two-year history of income. That income must be inclining and stable, and the business must be open and active.  However, we do have programs for those applicants who cannot or do not want to document income.

What credit score do I need?

We do not have minimum credit score but the loan still has to be automatically approved by the lenders underwriting engine or fit their underwriting guidelines.

I am self-employed and write off all of my income - can I still qualify?

Yes we can qualify you based on revenue or 1099 income.

I want to buy a rental property but can't provide income documentation. Can I still qualify?

Yes we can qualify you based on market rent. If the market rent covers the mortgage you are qualified.

Still have questions?
We invite you to reach out to us.
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770-652-9574 12252 Ferncreek Drive | Alpharetta, GA 30075
Georgia Residential Mortgage Licensee #60027  |  Company NMLS #1707536