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What Is A Mortgage Document Preparer?

Extra paperwork with a mortgage

When you go through the process of getting a mortgage to buy a home, there are tons of documents involved. In order to keep things organized, there’s usually a point person at your lender who handles and reviews the documentation for accuracy: the document preparer.

Here’s a look at their role and responsibilities.

What is a mortgage document preparer?

A mortgage document preparer is the person who collects and verifies the loan documents in a mortgage transaction. The document preparer is responsible for ensuring that key information is correct on all documents, including your name and the property address.

Mortgage document preparers aren’t always referenced as such in the mortgage industry, and there could be two types of document preparers in the mortgage process, said Pava Leyrer, chief operating officer at Northern Mortgage Services in Grandville, Mich. They may be referred to as the “disclosure desk” on the front end of the transaction, meaning they’re responsible for preparing and disseminating the disclosures after a borrower fills out a mortgage application. They may also be referred to as “closers,” or the individuals who prepare paperwork for the closing table.

Before preparing the documents, preparers are also tasked with verifying the information below, among many other details:

  • Mortgage program
  • Loan type, interest rate and any applicable points
  • Details about the borrower and title
  • Legal description of the property
  • Title insurance requirements

Document preparers also must ensure that the conditions for loan approval have been satisfied, such as repairs, building permits or title insurance endorsements.

Mortgage document rundown

Mortgage document preparers are responsible for preparing the many pages — approximately 30 to 40 — of disclosures that are relevant to the home purchase, Leyrer said. These are documents that outline all the details of the loan you’re pursuing.

Those pages might include:

  • Occupancy disclosures
  • Loan Estimate
  • Flood certifications
  • State-specific disclosures
  • Homeownership counseling disclosures
  • General authorization disclosures

According to Leyrer, all the pertinent documentation has to be prepared in a particular manner so that the borrower can receive the information, review it and then sign it.

“And what you’re signing to isn’t that you necessarily agree with it all; you’re signing stating you got a copy of it all,” Leyrer added.

Document preparers also make sure borrowers get a copy of the booklet “Your Home Loan Toolkit,” a resource published by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) to help consumers better understand the homebuying process. The toolkit must be delivered within three days after a borrower completes a mortgage application, according to the CFPB.

In a nutshell, the document preparer serves as another pair of eyes in a mortgage transaction.

“The person who prepares the documents takes what’s given to them, reviews and validates the information and then sends it out,” Leyrer explained.

Avoid these 3 mortgage doc mistakes

As a borrower, you likely won’t have any direct interactions with the document preparer assigned to your loan file — still, there are things you can do to make their job easier. Steer clear of the following documentation mistakes.

Being inconsistent with your name

You probably want to avoid using your nickname on any of your mortgage documents, Leyrer said.

For example, if your name is Samuel but you go by Sam for short, consider what name you’ll want displayed on your deed and other documentation. If you want to go by your full first name, you’ll need to practice signing with your full name, since that’s the name that will be on all your paperwork.

“If you really think through, these are legal documents,” she said. “How do you really want your name taken?”

If you’re not consistent with your name, it could lead to you having multiple “also known as” names and creating other headaches for you later down the line, Leyrer said.

Seeing errors and not speaking up

Be sure you read over the various documents that are being sent your way for accuracy and bring attention to any errors you see. Addressing mistakes as early as possible means fewer roadblocks later in the process.

“Don’t be afraid to ask for something to be corrected upfront,” Leyrer said. “That’s the best place to have it corrected, with the least amount of time issues, is upfront.”

Delivering unclear documents

When your lender is asking for copies of your driver’s license and other forms of documentation, make sure those copies are easy to read; otherwise, they can’t make use of them.

If they have to reach out and ask for a clearer copy of a particular document, it’s not to inconvenience you — it’s to ensure everything checks out.

“There’s a reason why we want it clear. It’s so that we can accurately connect and compare your documents to make sure they’re right,” Leyrer explained.

The bottom line

Mortgage document preparers have the important task in the homebuying process of making sure the documentation is correct and that your loan file can move forward to closing.

For an explainer on each of the key players you need to know when getting a mortgage, read The Who’s Who of the Mortgage Process.

 

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