If you’re planning on buying a home anytime soon, you’re probably already knee-deep in research and advice. We’re sure you have a whole list of what you need to do in order to get pre-approved for a mortgage and find your perfect home. Today, however, we want to talk about five things you shouldn’t do if buying a house is in your foreseeable future.
1. Don’t wait to get organized.
Get a binder or accordion file and start organizing your paperwork now. Get copies of bank statements, credit reports, tax returns, proof of employment, etc. to ensure you have them all if and when you need them. When you meet with your lender, you’ll have it all ready to go.
2. Don’t overspend or take on unexpected debt.
Create a budget and stick to it. Now is the time to trim your spending where you can and pad your bank account. Avoid making any large purchases or take on any unexpected debt. You want to keep your credit report clean and keep balances as low as you can until after closing day. Try finding little ways to cut your spending here and there, like making coffee at home and brown-bagging it for lunch.
3. Don’t forget to monitor your credit score.
You definitely don’t want any surprises cropping up in your credit report when you go to initiate the approval process. There’s no standard for credit scores when it comes to getting approved, but the higher your score, the better your chances are of getting approved and locking in a lower interest rate. Check your annual free credit report or sign up for credit monitoring, available for free through many credit card companies and banks if you already do business with them. If anything looks suspicious, check into it and dispute it if needed. If everything looks legit, keep credit balances low and don’t close any accounts. Lenders need to see that payment history that tells them you’re a responsible spender.
4. Don’t change jobs.
Lenders look at more than just your debt-to-income ratio before approving you for a home loan. They want to see job history and longevity in order to secure their investment. It’s important to show that you have job security and will be able to make your mortgage payments on time each month.
5. Don’t wait to get started.
You might not be ready to buy right away, but don’t wait until you’re ready to pull the trigger to start house-hunting. It usually takes a lot of looking to find the perfect home. Get started now so you can make a solid list of your needs and wants and get to know what’s on the market. This way you won’t be surprised at what you’re able to afford when it’s time to buy. It’s also a good idea to go ahead and hire a Realtor® and get in touch with a lender so you can start getting your ducks in a row.