CNN Money – Les Christie
Once easy to carry in one hand, the average mortgage application file has now ballooned to 500 pages, according to David Stevens, CEO of the Mortgage Bankers Association. "Since the housing bubble burst, file size has grown steadily and dramatically," said Peter Grabel, a loan officer for Luxury Mortgage in Stamford, Conn. Just seven or eight years ago, the typical application file ran to about a hundred pages, he said. Some for "no-doc" loans were thin indeed, not much more than a credit report, plus an appraisal and property information.
But now files are more jam-packed than ever, with income and asset records, tax returns and other financial documents. "We now need two years tax returns, two months’ bank statements, sourcing of every deposit… on every file," said Grabel. A middle-income worker financing a median-priced house may get away with just a few hundred pages, but business owners or wealthy people with several income streams can generate paperwork better measured with yardsticks than page numbers. What gives? After the housing meltdown, tighter rules were put in place, requiring an explosion of disclosures to be included in mortgage applications. Those alone account for nearly 50 pages, said Grabel.