It happens every year. A client will go to a mortgage broker or the bank and get a pre-approval and then go house hunting. They find a home and make an offer which is accepted. They then go back to the lender with the offer and all the paperwork and all of a sudden, they are not approved.
How did that happen? What happened to the preapproval? What most people do not realize is that a preapproval is a brief overview to see if you are creditworthy and it tells you how much you can afford. The pre-approval is really no more than an interest rate hold.
Inexperienced bank employees and a few brokers fail to give their clients the 5 Commandments when they give their clients the pre-approval.
Here they are:
1- Don’t make any large purchases – don’t buy a new car or change the lease. Do not go out to buy the new furniture for your home until after the mortgage is approved. Even if you have one of those no payments for 90 days plans from the Brick, Sears or Leon's , they do appear as purchases made at this time on your credit bureau report.
2- Don’t apply for new credit – I know the zero down balance transfer looks appealing but you don’t need another hit on your credit bureau. Put off the temptation until after the deal is done.
3- Keep your job – This may sound like a no-brainer but there are a lot of people who will switch forgetting about the 3 month probation or will become consultants which means they are self-employed. Don’t change industries. More than one mortgage has been shot down by a job change.
4- Pay your bills – pay them on time and don’t let the balances get close to the credit limit.
If you let your balance get close to your limit you can lose 30 points. Go over by a dollar and you will lose 35 points in a flash. Lenders often check for credit score drops in the days leading up to your visit to the lawyer’s office.
5- Don’t move large amounts of cash around in your accounts. If you are receiving a gift for your down payment from your parents be sure to photocopy the cheque and the deposit receipt. Money laundering is a big worry with lenders so you should wait until your broker tells you it’s okay to move funds.
Finally, be aware that the lawyer will ask you for 2 pieces of identification. If you make an offer on a house use your formal name, not your nickname. If the name on the offer and the name on your identification do not match you could delay or kill the home purchase at the last minute.
Let’s face it. Buying a home is a life changing event. Deal with a professional mortgage broker and you can avoid making stupid mistakes that will deprive you of owning the house of your dreams.