1. Know your credit score
It literally takes a few minutes to pull your credit report and order your credit score. But
surprisingly, some future home buyers never review their scores and credit history before
submitting a home loan application, assuming that their scores are high enough to qualify. And
many never consider the possibility of identity theft. However, a low credit score and credit
fraud can stop a mortgage application dead in its tracks.
2 Stay at your job
I know someone who quit working seven days before she and her husband were to close on their
mortgage loan. I have no idea why, and unfortunately, it didn’t turn out well for them. They
weren’t able to close on their new home and they lost out on a great deal.
Sticking with your employer while going through the home buying process is crucial. Any
changes to your employment or income status can stop or greatly delay the mortgage process.
3 Pay down debt and avoid new debt
You don’t need a zero balance on your credit cards to qualify for a mortgage loan. However, the
less you owe your creditors, the better. Your debts determine if you can get a mortgage, as well
as how much you can acquire from a lender. Lenders evaluate your debt-to-income ratio before
approving the mortgage. If you have a high debt ratio because you’re carrying a lot of credit card
debt, the lender can turn down your request or offer a lower mortgage. This is because your
entire monthly debt payments — including the mortgage – shouldn’t exceed 36% of your gross
monthly income. However, paying down your consumer debt before completing an application
lowers your debt-to-income ratio and can help you acquire a better mortgage rate.
4. Get pre-approved for a mortgage
Getting pre-approved for a mortgage loan before looking at houses is emotionally and financially
responsible. On one hand, you know what you can spend before bidding on properties. And on
the other hand, you avoid falling in love with a house that you can’t afford.
The pre-approval process is fairly simple: Contact a mortgage lender, submit your financial and
personal information, and wait for a response. Pre-approvals include everything from how much
you can afford, to the interest rate you’ll pay on the loan. The lender prints a pre-approval letter
for your records, and funds are available as soon as a seller accepts your bid. Though it’s not
always that simple, it can be.