Starting the Financing Process

While there’s more to come for sure, we wanted to give you the first steps in tacking the home mortgage application process which will most likely be the most annoying part of the entire home buying process. 


A lender will only speak in generalities until they see your paperwork as they need documentation, documentation and more documentaion.  So you should start by gathering these materials and you should keep the originals and PDF them as you’ll have to send these materials in at least a few times. 

If you have any questions about documents or special circumstances it’s best to CALL your lender rep versus emailing them. 

Last 2 years of W–2s &1040s for self–employed and/or tax returns (personal & business returns 

FILED (e.g., 1120, Sched. K–1) Last 2 pay stubs & employer verification/ability to do so easily; year-end pay statements, 2 years

Last 2 months bank statements (checking, savings, IRA, Money Market, etc)

Credit report fee (banks pull their own), you could provide your own to avoid multiple inquiries but they'll eventually get their own 

Photo I.D. (Driver’s License, Passport, Green Card, etc.) (VA letter/certification)

Landlord contact information 12 months proof of rent payments; i.e., canceled checks, statements, etc.

If you’re getting RSUs, vesting schedule showing award amounts and payouts

Gift Letter from relatives/investors; don’t forget they can ‘loan’ you money through forgivable loans 

All cash? Funds verification/bank statement

Changing jobs? Offer letter from new employer (potentially, 1 pay stub from pay cycle of new employer) 

For current homeowners: current mortgage statement/sales contract

Various HUD & lender application materials

Whatever underwriting requests Explanatory letter for any special cases or situations


There’s much more than mortgage rate when it comes to getting a mortgage. While it might not seem like it, you are still ultimately a consumer who chooses where to take your business. In evaluating who you want to do your loan, here are some of the fine-print details that can set one loan apart from another: 

  • Origination points (i.e., lender fees to even do the loan) 
  • Post-close reserve requirements, if any (i.e., cash on deposit even after you close escrow) 
  • Early repayment penalties, if any  (that make refinancing or early sales less advantageous) 
  • Number of appraisals required for your purchase, even if it’s not a contingency (if each appraisal costs close to $1,000 . . .)
  • Escrow duration, as in how long it will take for them to close the purchase from when the offer is accepted to when we have keys
  • Reputation and ethics 
  • How vigorous their underwriting is and how forgiving they are 
  • Down payment requirements (10, 15, 20, 25, 30, 40 percent?) 
  • How often credit is pulled (and how long a credit report lasts) 
  • If a lender is willing to have a second mortgage with their first mortgage 
A Mortgage Calculator (Just the Mortgage)

mortgage calculators

Yes, San Francisco and the Bay Area are expensive places to buy property. Good thing that there are lots of ways to buy a home. While cash is king, all-cash offers aren’t always the offers that win. We will explore some of the potential options for financing your purchase later one, but here is the documentation that most lenders will want to review. Remember your circumstances will be different so be aware of that.  

What Questions Can We Answer? 

There’s a lot to digest here we know. Feel free to ping us if you have someting you'd like to ask us. 


We’ve worked with a lot of folks who have helped our clients get their homes. Reach out to them to see if they’d be a match for you. 

Conventional Purchases, Houses, Condos, Multi-Unit

Tony Alencar
NMLS # 484714
Home Lending Officer
Cell: (415) 215-1239
[email protected]

Bridge, Portfolio, Unconventional

Patrick D Skovran
Boston Private
NMLSR #453408
SVP Market Leader – Residential Lending
415.806.8980 cell
415.402.3140 office
[email protected]

Conventional Purchases

Sean Patrick Farrell
Wells Fargo
NMLSR ID 507300
Home Mortgage Consultant
500 12th St, Suite 150
Oakland, CA 94607
MAC A0202-011
Tel: 510-267-1315
[email protected]

Mortgage Broker/Portfolio

Peter Barnes
RPM Mortgage
NMLS # 239580
1385 Shattuck Avenue unit B
Berkeley, CA 94709
Office # 510.647.5326
Cell # 415.302.3398
[email protected]

Construction, Purchase and Renovation, Development, Mortgage Broker

Connie Buchanan
Stephanie Hoff
California Real Estate Loans
NMLS #241170 & DRE #01200004
APMC dba California Real Estate Loans, Inc.
600 N San Mateo Dr, San Mateo, CA 94401
Cell: 415-999-2172
Tel: 650-342-4466
Fax: 650-342-9504
[email protected]

Unconventional, Investment, Remodel

Leman J Woo
Loan Depot
NMLS # 916227
Senior Loan Consultant
700 Airport Boulevard Suite 280
Burlingame, CA 94010
(650) 993-7580 office
(415) 812-2934 cell
[email protected]

What Else? 

See more on the topic.

Paying for it All: San Francisco Financed Purchases + Mortgages Considered By Kevin and Jonathan

Kevin Ho and Jonathan McNarry of Vanguard Properties, San Francisco, consider some of the financing products they and their clients have encountered when buying and selling property in San Francisco over the past few years including fixed mortgages, adjustable ones and exotic ones — each suited for a given property and offering situation.

Better Buying: How A Financed Offer Can Still Win in San Francisco's Competitive Real Estate Market

How to win property in San Francisco while still getting a mortgage: non-contingent financing. Top tips from Kevin Ho and Jonathan McNarry, Vanguard Properties, San Francisco

Yes, It's possible to buy for less than 20 percent down

Think a 20% down payment is the only way to buy property in San Francisco? Think Again. There are many mortgage programs out there that allow you to get into a home now while rates are low and appreciation potential remains strong in San Francisco. Advice from Kevin Ho and Jonathan McNarry, Vanguard Properties

General Information Only.

Remember that the advice above is just for information only and that your situation, circumstances are unique to you and that you should consult a financial professional before proceeding with any application for credit. Things in the financial sector can and do change with little or no notice, so keep current. Also, referrals above are to lending professionals we’ve worked with previously but that we receive no consideration, rebate or otherwise from the folks listed above. You must make the right choice for you exercising your own judgment and assessment. 


Hi, we’re Kevin Ho and Jonathan McNarry of Vanguard Properties in San Francisco, California. We’re partners in life and in business. Together with our big black Labrador retriever, Raffi, we are top producing Realtors in San Francisco’s competitive and valuable residential real estate market.

We truly love what we do and are passionately committed to our clients, their needs and advancing their interests. We represent both buyers and sellers with many repeat clients but we are always expanding our client base. Our belief is that by working with you you will make better informed decisions in this most important of areas of life.

We invite you to contact us to learn more and to start your success story now.


To that extent possible, the information here is copyright protected. But other information such as links, articles and the like are only reproduced here for market education purposes. Remember to research all matters discussed here to your own satisfaction.

Terms & Conditions

Real estate is always changing and evolving. It's complex and can be as fickle as it is surprising. And while the information and knowledge on this site is considered to be accurate and correct, it cannot be warranted. Market conditions in San Francisco, California, and the world can change with a tweet or a sneeze and is beyond anyone's control.

In San Francisco, things like local, state and federal tax regulations can change with big implications. Other things like rent control rules, eviction control, lending practices and standards, building and zoning regulations are just a few of the other things that can change with little or no notice. All of these things and other intangible factors can and will impact market values and performance. 

Kevin is a licensed California attorney but focuses on real estate about 99.9 percent of the time. It's important to note that while you can’t take the attorney out of him he will not be acting as your attorney here. This speaks to the larger point that you should also seek out qualified folks who work in their respective sectors if you have further questions. 

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©  2011-2020, Kevin Ho, Jonathan McNarry, RTI, Inc.

All rights reserved.

Kevin K. Ho, DRE 01875957/SBN 233408

Jonathan B. McNarry, DRE 01747295

Vanguard Properties
2501 Mission Street, San Francisco, CA 94110
555 Castro Street, San Francisco, CA 94114

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