6 Ways Home Buyers Mess Up Getting a Mortgage

Dated: January 8 2022

Views: 37

Getting a mortgage is, by general consensus, the most treacherous part of buying a home. Many homebuyers said they found the mortgage experience stressful and complicated. Even lenders agree that it’s often a struggle. If you’re out to buy a home, you have to be vigilant. To clue you into the pitfalls, here are six of the most common ways people mess up getting a mortgage.

 

Waiting until you can make a 20% down payment

 

A 20% down payment is the golden number when applying for a conventional home loan since it enables you to avoid paying private mortgage insurance (PMI), an extra monthly fee of 0.3% to 1.15% of your total loan amount. But with mortgage rates where they are today—in a word, low—waiting for that magic 20% could be a huge mistake since the more time passes, the higher mortgage rates and home prices may go!

 

All of which means it may be worth discussing your home-buying prospects with lenders right now. To get a ballpark figure of what you can afford and how your down payment affects your finances, punch your salary and other numbers into a home affordability calculator.

 

Meeting with only one mortgage lender

 

According to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, about half of U.S. home buyers only meet with one mortgage lender before signing up for a home loan. But these borrowers could be missing out in a big way. Why? Because lenders’ offers and interest rates vary, and even nabbing a slightly lower interest rate can save you big bucks over the long haul.

 

In fact, a borrower taking out a 30-year fixed-rate conventional loan can get rates that vary by more than half a percent So, getting an interest rate of 4.0% instead of 4.5% on a $200,000, 30-year fixed mortgage translates into savings of approximately $60 per month, or $3,500 over the first five years.

 

So, to make sure you’re getting the best deal possible, meet with at least three mortgage lenders. You’ll want to start your search early (ideally, at least 60 days before you start seriously looking at homes). When you meet with each lender, get what’s called a good-faith estimate, which breaks down the terms of the mortgage, including the interest rate and fees, so that you can make an apples-to-apples comparison between offers.

 

Getting pre-qualified rather than pre-approved

 

Mortgage pre-qualification and mortgage pre-approval may sound alike, but they’re completely different. Pre-qualification entails a basic overview of a borrower’s ability to get a loan. You provide a mortgage lender with information—about your income, assets, debts, and credit—but you don’t need to produce any paperwork to back it up. In return, you’ll get a rough estimate of what size loan you can afford, but it’s by no means a guarantee that you’ll actually get approved for the loan when you go to buy a home.

 

Mortgage pre-approval, meanwhile, is an in-depth process that involves a lender running a credit check and verifying your income and assets. Then an underwriter does a preliminary review of your financial portfolio and, if all goes well, issues a letter of pre-approval—a written commitment for financing up to a certain loan amount.

 

Bottom line? If you’re serious about buying a house, you need to be pre-approved, since many sellers will accept offers only from pre-approved buyers.

 

Moving money around

 

To get pre-approved, you must show you have enough cash in reserves to afford the down payment. (Presenting your mortgage lender with bank statements is the easiest way to do this.) Nonetheless, your loan still needs to go through underwriting while you’re under contract for your loan to be approved. Because the underwriter will check to see that your finances have remained the same, the last thing you want to do is move money around while you’re in the process of buying a house. Shifting large amounts of money out or even into your accounts is a huge red flag. So if you’re in contract for a home, your money should stay put.

 

Applying for new lines of credit

 

If you apply for a new credit card or request a credit limit increase a few months before closing, watch out: Credit inquiries ding your credit score by up to five points. So, don’t let the credit inquiries add up.

 

Applying for multiple lines of credit while you’re buying a house can make your mortgage lender think that you’re desperate for money—a signal that could change your mortgage terms or even get you denied altogether, even if you’ve got a closing date on the books.

 

Changing jobs

 

Mortgage lenders like to see at least two years of consistent income history when pre-approving a loan. Consequently, changing jobs while you’re under contract on a property can create a big issue in the eyes of an underwriter.

Your best bet? Try to wait until after you’ve closed on your house to change jobs. If you’re forced to switch before closing, you should alert your loan officer immediately. Depending on the lender, you may simply need to provide written verification of employment from your new employer that states your job status and income.

Blog author image

Holly Montilla

Holly understands that buying or selling a home is more than just a transaction: it's a life-changing experience. That's why her team of highly-seasoned real estate professionals is dedicated to provi....

Latest Blog Posts

Home Prices are Still on the Rise in Texas!

The first quarter of 2022 has ended with the median home price in Texas being over $325,000.00. This was an increase of 18.6% over last year. (Texas Quarterly Housing Report)“The demand for

Read More

9 House Cleaning Hacks (for People Who Hate Cleaning Their House)

Everyone hates getting bogged down with life’s little details. And guess what? You don’t have to! Here are house cleaning hacks for people who hate cleaning their house. Let’s face

Read More

What Everyone Wants To Know: Will Home Prices Decline in 2022?

If you’re thinking of buying a home in today’s housing market, you may be wondering how strong your investment will be. You might be asking yourself: if I buy a home now, will it lose

Read More

50 Real Estate Terms Every Home Buyer Should Know

Whether you're ready to buy your first home or just need an acronym refresher, keep this glossary handy. You don’t need a real estate license to find your dream home, but it does help to

Read More