April 12th, 2014 4:09 PM by Jackie A. Graves
Buying a home is complex enough but when it comes to financing,
you need to make sure you are as prepared as possible in order to get a loan.
There are a number of mistakes you can make along the way of
getting your loan approved. Here are some of the things to avoid to
make the process go smoothly.
1.Don't choose the wrong
loans may no longer be the lifetime obligations they used to be but still --
you don't want to be saddled for even a short period of time with the wrong
one. Investigate all of your options, then lay your choices side-by-side and do
the math, making sure to compare worst-case scenarios. Be sure to look at
initial interest rates, future interest rates and payments (if different), and
the possibility, though now rare, of prepayment penalties.
2. Don't confuse
"pre-approved" and "pre-qualified" with a loan commitment: When you are "pre-qualified," the lender is making an
educated guess about how much you can borrow based on information you've
provided. When you are "pre-approved," the lender has verified
everything you've provided and is offering to lend you up to a given
amount at current interest rates -- under certain conditions. It's much better
to be pre-approved when shopping for a home because both you, your real estate
agent and the seller know what you can afford. Whether pre-qualified or pre-approved,
final clearance and a check at closing -- a loan commitment -- are subject to
an appraisal satisfactory to the lender, good title, a last-minute credit
check, and other verifications. When meeting with lenders, always ask what
additional steps will be required to obtain a loan.
3. Don't have too much
credit is almost as bad as no credit or even bad credit. Even if you pay your
bills on time, lenders tend to focus just as much on how much credit you have
available to you as they do on timeliness. So being up to your ears in car
loans and credit cards is a sure way to be turned down for a mortgage. Postpone
any big-ticket purchases until after you buy your house.
4. Don't lie on your loan application:Exaggerating
your income on a mortgage application or putting down other untruths can be a
federal offense. Lenders rarely prosecute liars but if they find out later,
they can call your loan due and payable. Don't ever sign your name to a loan
application that is not completely filled out, either. Loan officers have been
known to stretch the truth to get a client approved, but it's the borrowers who
end up paying the price, often in the form of monthly loan payments they can't
5. Don't hide if you
can't make your payments: The worst
thing you can do is ignore phone calls and letters from your lender when you
are behind on your payments. Lenders have many options at their disposal to
help keep borrowers from losing their homes to foreclosure. But they can't do
anything for you unless they can talk to you about your difficulties. Lenders
are the enemy only if you give them no other choice.
6. Don't skip a home
to make your purchase contingent on a satisfactory home inspection could be a
costly mistake. Independent home inspectors examine houses from stem to stern.
They'll be able to tell you whether the roof or basement leaks, whether the
mechanical systems are in good shape and how long the appliances should last.
They can't report on things they can't see, but at least their trained eyes are
better than yours. So don't pass just to save $300-$400; that's money well
7. Don't hire just any
agent to sell your house: All
real estate agents are not the same. You want to look for those who specialize
in your neighborhood and are top producers. Ask your candidates how they plan
to market your house, what you can do to make the place more attractive to
prospects and how much you should ask. If you don't like any of the answers,
8. Don't fail to check
out a remodeler: Never,
ever hire a contractor who knocks on your door or says his prices are good for
only a few days. Reputable remodelers don't solicit door-to-door, and they
don't cut prices just because they happen to be in your neighborhood. Check out
a potential contractor thoroughly by calling several of his past clients, your
local better business bureau, his bankers and suppliers, and your local
consumer affairs agency.
9. Don't pay too much upfront: If a contractor asks for more than a third of the contract price
as a downpayment, chances are something's wrong. At worst, he's a scam artist
who has no intention of returning after he cashes your check. At best, he's
undercapitalized and can't afford to purchase materials on his own. Or, in
between, he could be using your money to pay workers on another job. Never give
a contractor cash, either.
10. Don't burn your
mortgage: It's a
wonderful feeling when you make your last house payment. After all, the place
is now yours, all yours. Many people celebrate by holding a mortgage burning
party. But they torch the original document. Don't. Make a copy and burn that
instead. Keep all your loan docs in a safe place.