1. Making a big purchase, including furniture
If you’re about to close on a house, it’s not the best time to get a new car, boat, or other expensive item. Even furniture or appliances — basically anything you might pay for in installments — is best to delay until after your mortgage is finalized.
Depending on your credit score and history, these transactions can lower your score, which can impact the interest rate and the loan amount you receive. This could result in a higher interest rate for the next 15 or 30 years, or even having to come up with a larger down payment.
Bottom line: Wait to purchase a big-ticket item, because “this can ruin their chances of staying qualified for a loan,” says Patricia Martinez-Alvidrez, business development officer for Stewart Title in El Paso, Texas.
2. Opening a new line of creditIt’s not just big purchases that can alter your credit score.
Opening a new credit card or closing an existing one can affect your standing, too. In the run-up to your mortgage closing, lenders make an assessment of the credit risk they are taking on and go through several steps to assess that risk for each loan applicant. It’s especially important to protect your credit score if it’s low enough that you’re on the margins of qualifying for a mortgage at the start of the process. Any changes, in that case, can work against you and might make it impossible to finalize the loan.
3. Switching or quitting your job
Another major mistake to make when you’re about to close on a home purchase is changing jobs. This is because mortgage lenders examine your employment history for consistency, and providing additional documentation on employment to a lender can delay the closing.
If you have any control over your job situation, it’s best to stay put until after you close. A borrower who quits their current job might have to wait a couple of weeks before they can attempt to close again.
4. Disrupting the timeline
Closing on a mortgage is time-sensitive. Even if you’ve locked in your rate, that only guarantees things for so long. It’s important to keep on top of the schedule and make sure all of your paperwork is submitted on time. Otherwise, you risk losing the terms you agreed to and could have to start the process over again.
5. Taking out a personal loan
If you get a personal loan or co-sign a loan for someone else, you could also face hiccups before getting to the closing table. In some instances, the lender might turn you down for a loan altogether even if you were previously preapproved.
It depends on how your credit score and debt-to-income (DTI) ratio is impacted. A good DTI, in particular, is a critical factor in mortgage approvals. Lenders consider two types of DTIs:
Front-end DTI: Your monthly mortgage payment, including principal, interest, taxes, insurance, and association fees divided by your monthly income.
Back-end DTI: The sum of all your monthly debt payments divided by your monthly income.
Depending on the amount of the loan payment, your back-end DTI could increase to a percentage that the lender is unwilling to accept. If your credit score is right above the minimum to qualify for a mortgage, a hard inquiry that results from applying for a personal loan could drop it to a point that makes you ineligible. Either way, there’s a chance you’ll be forced to walk away from the deal.
It’s not always smooth sailing when going from the mortgage application process to the closing table. However, there are actions you can steer clear of to minimize roadblocks and ensure your loan closes on time. You also should review your credit report, and scores and identify ways to optimize your financial health to give yourself the best chance at securing a mortgage with competitive terms. And definitely give us a call if you’re in your closing and not sure.