What Assets Should Be Noted on a Mortgage Application?

By Christopher Graham · June 20, 2023 · 7 minute read

We’re here to help! First and foremost, SoFi Learn strives to be a beneficial resource to you as you navigate your financial journey. We develop content that covers a variety of financial topics. Sometimes, that content may include information about products, features, or services that SoFi does not provide. We aim to break down complicated concepts, loop you in on the latest trends, and keep you up-to-date on the stuff you can use to help get your money right.

What Assets Should Be Noted on a Mortgage Application?

When lenders ask borrowers to list their assets during the mortgage application process, they’re looking primarily for cash and “cash equivalents” (assets that can be quickly converted to cash). But that doesn’t mean you can’t or shouldn’t include other types of assets on your application.

The assets you choose to include could help determine the type of mortgage you can get and the interest rate you’re offered. So it’s important to be prepared with a well-thought-out list of assets for your lender.

What Is Considered a Financial Asset?

When you apply for a loan, you can expect your lender to ask about your income, the debts you owe, and the assets you own. What’s an asset? In the broadest sense, a financial asset is anything you own that has monetary value and can be turned into cash. But all assets are not created equal when it comes to borrowing money.

First-time homebuyers can
prequalify for a SoFi mortgage loan,
with as little as 3% down.

Types of Financial Assets

Some assets can take longer to liquidate than others, and the value of some assets may change over time. So it can be helpful to break down your assets into different categories, including:

Cash and Cash Equivalents

This category includes cash you have on hand (in a home safe, for example); the accounts you use to hold your cash (checking, savings, and money market accounts); and assets that can be quickly converted to cash (CDs, money market funds).

Physical Assets

A physical or tangible asset is something you own that can be touched and that would have some value if you had to sell it to qualify for your loan or to make your loan payments. (If you need to use this type of asset to qualify for a mortgage, the lender may ask you to sell it before you close.) Some examples of physical assets include homes, cars, boats, jewelry, or artwork.

Nonphysical Assets

Nonphysical or nontangible assets aren’t as liquid as physical assets, and you can’t actually put your hands on them — but they still have value. This category includes workplace pensions and retirement plans (401(k)s, 403(b)s, etc.), and IRAs. You may be able to withdraw money from your account in certain circumstances, or borrowing from your 401(k) might be an option, but it can take time as well as careful planning to avoid tax and other consequences.

Liquid Assets

This category includes nonphysical assets that you can easily convert to cash if necessary. For example, a stock or bond that isn’t part of your retirement account would be considered a liquid asset.

Fixed Assets

Fixed assets are items you own that could be sold for cash, but it may take a while to find a buyer — and the value may have changed (up or down) since you made the initial purchase. You would list a valuable piece of furniture, an antique, or a real estate property as a fixed asset using the item’s current value — not its original purchase price.

Equity Assets

This category includes any ownership interest you may have in a company, such as a stock, mutual fund, or holdings in a retirement account.

Fixed Income Assets

Investment money lent in exchange for interest, such as a government bond, may be categorized as a fixed-income asset. (Yes, there can be some confusing overlap in how assets may be designated. Don’t let that hang you up: The goal is simply to keep your mind open to anything you own that might be helpful when listed as an asset on your application.)

Financial Assets to List on Your Mortgage Application

You may have heard or read that lenders tend to prioritize a borrower’s liquid net worth (the total amount of cash and cash equivalents you own minus any outstanding debt) over total net worth (everything you own minus everything you owe).

That’s partly because lenders want to be clear on where the money for your down payment and closing costs is coming from. When you apply for a home mortgage loan, a lender will want to determine if you’re a good financial risk, able to comfortably manage monthly mortgage payments — even if you suddenly have a bunch of medical bills to pay or experience a job layoff. So it can help your application if you have a healthy savings account, certificates of deposit (CDs), or other assets you can quickly liquidate in a pinch.

That doesn’t mean, though, that your lender won’t also note other assets you own when gauging your financial stability. Listing physical assets that can be quickly converted to cash may show your lender that you have options if you need more money for your down payment or to keep in cash reserves. And the assets you have in other categories could help bolster your application if you’re a candidate for a certain type of mortgage loan or a better interest rate.

Does Reporting More Assets Help With Mortgage Approval?

As you go through the mortgage preapproval process, you can ask your lender to help you determine which assets will help make your application stronger. You also could meet with your accountant in advance to go over what you have. If in doubt, you may want to list everything of value on your application — especially if you’re concerned about qualifying for the loan amount you want. Just be sure everything is accurate, because the lender will verify the information you provide. Bear in mind the lender will also be looking at whether you have the credit score needed to buy a house. Your debt-to-income ratio will also be important.

How Mortgage Lenders Verify Assets

Your lender will want to be sure all the information on your application is correct, so you should be prepared to provide asset statements to support everything you’ve listed. Documents you may be asked for include:

Bank Statements

Lenders generally will ask to see two or three of the most recent monthly statements from your checking, savings, and other bank accounts. You can send copies of paper statements (if you still do paper) or you can download copies online. If you have cash deposits on your statements, you should be ready to answer questions about the source (or sources) of that money. Your lender will want to be sure you have enough money on your own to make your down payment and monthly payments.

Keep in mind that when you turn over your bank statements, your lender will look for clues to the stability of your financial health. If you have a history of overdrafts or other problems, your application could be denied, even if your current balances are sufficient to qualify for a mortgage.

Gift Letters

Some lenders and loan programs allow borrowers to accept a large monetary gift from a family member to help with their down payment. But you’ll likely have to ask your benefactor to sign a document stating you won’t have to repay the money, and the lender also may ask to see a copy of that person’s bank statements to verify he or she was the source of the money.

Retirement and Investment Account Statements

If you need more money to make your down payment or help cover closing costs, and you plan to withdraw or borrow money from a retirement or brokerage account, you should be ready to provide two to three months’ worth of statements from those accounts.

Appraisal and Insurance Paperwork

If you’re listing a physical or fixed asset, you may have to produce an appraisal report or insurance document that states the item’s current value and that it belongs to you.

The Takeaway

Making a list of your assets, and gathering up documents to verify ownership and value, may seem like a tedious exercise. But being prepared to provide a complete accounting of your assets — along with the other documentation you’ll need — could help you find and get the mortgage you want.

Need help? SoFi’s Mortgage Loan Officers can provide one-on-one assistance as you work your way through the mortgage application process, so you can know what’s expected at each step. And SoFi’s online application makes it easy to get started.

Check out the flexible terms and competitive rates on a SoFi Home Loan today.

Photo credit: iStock/FG Trade

SoFi Mortgages
Terms, conditions, and state restrictions apply. Not all products are available in all states. See SoFi.com/eligibility for more information.

SoFi Loan Products
SoFi loans are originated by SoFi Bank, N.A., NMLS #696891 (Member FDIC). For additional product-specific legal and licensing information, see SoFi.com/legal. Equal Housing Lender.


TLS 1.2 Encrypted
Equal Housing Lender