A mortgage is one of the largest financial responsibilities you’ll acquire throughout your life. Despite this, there are still some major mortgage mistakes many people make every day. If you’re interested in purchasing a home, you should do your best to avoid these potential pitfalls.

CHECK YOUR CREDIT FIRST

You should always check your credit before you begin your pursuit of a home. This is a mortgage mistake that many home buyers can easily avoid but don’t! You may have issues with your credit that you didn’t expect, such as judgments in another state or late payments on accounts you forgot about. If you check your credit early on, you’ll avoid nasty surprises down the line.

This also brings up another important point…don’t apply for any new credit until your mortgage is finalized! Applying for new credit can have a dramatic effect on your debt load and your credit score. If you make a major purchase, your mortgage loan could fall through in the final stages. Many prospective homeowners make the mistake of believing that their loan has already been guaranteed and that it will go through before the new credit hits their reports.

DON’T UNDERESTIMATE YOUR HOUSING PAYMENT

Your housing payment doesn’t just consist of your mortgage payment. Once you purchase your home, you’ll have to acquire homeowners insurance, pay property taxes and pay any homeowner’s association fees applicable. It’s very important that you consider these incidentals, as well as the repairs and maintenance you will have to do on your new home.

If you have been renting, you may not have needed to pay gas bills or water bills before, either. Regardless of the amount your bank approves you for, you should carefully go over your personal income and expenses to determine how much you can truly afford. Many home owners don’t allocate enough for those expenses that just happen to “pop up” from time to time out of the blue. Most first time home buyers don’t realize all the other expenses when purchasing a home. If you are not careful you could easily find yourself in the poor house without budgeting properly!

DON’T MAKE ANY LARGE DEPOSITS

Before you start the mortgage loan process, you should already have all of the funds you need to purchase your home. Any large deposits that you make will need to be tracked. This is to ensure that you do not receive money from other sources, such as private family loans or even gifts. Making large deposits is a common mortgage mistake that should be easy to avoid as long as you know it will create issues. Unfortunately many buyers are not counseled well enough.

Mortgage lenders need to be assured that all of the money you’re putting towards your home (with some small exceptions) came from you and no one else. Remember lenders are going to scrutinize  almost everything you do during the loan process!

STAY IN YOUR CURRENT JOB

Even if you’re moving to a job that has a higher rate of pay, changing positions in the middle of receiving a mortgage loan is almost never a good idea. Instead, ask your prospective employer if you can start after your closing date. Changing jobs can complicate the entire process, as your mortgage lender will need to reevaluate the stability of your position.

ALWAYS GET A PRE-APPROVAL

A mortgage pre-approval is extremely important because it gives you a guideline on what you can spend on a home and will reveal any potential issues that could prevent you from getting a home. It is important for you to understand that pre-qualification letters are not the same as a pre-approval. There is a huge difference between being pre-qualified and being pre-approved for a mortgage.

A pre-qualification does not look at all of the aspects a pre-approval does and may not be as accurate. Most of the time when you get a pre-approval the lender will verify your credit and employment. When these steps are taken a seller is going to feel better about your ability to purchase their home.

Not getting pre-approved is a fairly substantial mistake that could cost you the opportunity to get your dream home if there are other buyers making an offer at the same time.

ALWAYS LOCK IN YOUR RATE

Mortgage rates fluctuate on a daily level. If you don’t lock in your mortgage rate, it’s possible that you could be in for a surprise once you finalize your loan. If your mortgage loan takes a particularly long time to close, this difference could be fairly significant. This is especially true during periods when mortgage rates are going up quickly.

Mortgage loan rates are usually locked for a specific period of time, but you can extend the lock you have on your mortgage rate if your transaction is taking a while to close.

While getting a mortgage loan may seem intimidating at first, it is a process that thousands of people go through every day. As long as you are careful and do the appropriate research, you should be fine. If you have any questions about the mortgage application process, feel free to contact my office at 702.331.8185.