Buying a house is already stressful, and being ill-prepared heightens the anxiety. Why put yourself through this? Learn how to think like a lender and educate yourself on the best ways to get your mortgage loan approved:
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. Cleaning up your credit history beforehand and fixing errors on your credit report are key to keeping up a good credit score.
Save Your Cash
Down payments aren’t the only expense you must worry about. Getting a mortgage also involves closing costs, home inspections, home appraisals, title searches, credit report fees, application fees, and other expenses. Closing costs are roughly 3% to 5% of the mortgage balance – paid to your lender before you can seal the deal.
Stay at Your Job
Lenders approve your home loan based on the information provided in your application. Taking a lower-paying job or quitting your job to become self-employed throws a wrench in the plans, and lenders must reevaluate your finances to see if you still qualify for the loan.
Pay Down Debt and Avoid New Debt
As a rule, avoid any major purchases until after you’ve closed on the mortgage loan. This can include financing a new car, purchasing home appliances with your credit card, or cosigning someone’s loan.
Get Pre-Approved for a Mortgage
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.
Know What You Can Afford
Don’t let lenders dictate how much you should spend on a mortgage loan. Lenders determine pre-approval amounts based on your income and credit report, and they don’t factor in how much you spend on daycare, insurance, groceries, or fuel. Rather than purchase a more expensive house because the lender says you can, be smart and keep your housing expense within your means.
One Last Thing
If you don’t meet the qualifications for a mortgage loan, don’t get discouraged. Instead, let it be motivation to improve your credit and finances. Many people have risen above credit problems, bankruptcy, foreclosure, and repossession specifically in order to purchase their first house. Just be sure to implement a realistic plan and stick to it.