About to Buy a House? Put Your Credit on Lockdown

Buying a house can be both a thrilling and simultaneously nerve-racking experience. One of the reasons that the home buying process can be stressful — besides the fact that it’s likely the biggest purchase most people ever make — is the daunting qualification process that takes place when applying for a mortgage.

During the process, it is important to understand that qualifying for a home loan is very different than applying for other types of credit loans. Why, you ask?

#1: Lenders Look at All Three Credit Reports and a few different Credit Scores

The main difference between applying for a mortgage and other types of financing is that, with a mortgage application, all three of your credit reports and three of your credit scores will be scrutinized. Whereas when you apply for other types of loans (e.g., credit cards, personal loans, auto loans), only one of your credit reports and one of your scores will be reviewed.

Since there are three of your credit reports and scores being reviewed during a mortgage application, a compromising item on a report, especially a public record or collection account with an outstanding balance, could potentially stop progress on your mortgage application — even if the offense only shows up on a single credit report.

If you were applying for an auto loan, you might still be able to qualify for financing if you had an outstanding item present on only one of your credit reports, but that’s not the case during the home loan application process – the lender has access to everything.

#2: Just Because You’re Initially Approved Doesn’t Mean Your Credit Is Off the Hook

When you initially apply for your home loan, you may receive a “preapproval” letter from the lender, but contrary to popular belief, the letter is not a guarantee of a loan.

While working with a lender will make realtors more willing to work with you and may even make sellers more inclined to seriously consider your offer, you should keep in mind that simply because your credit passed a lender’s initial review does not mean that the lender is 100% obligated to follow through with the loan.

True, your lender will have reviewed your credit reports and scores prior to issuing your preapproval, but it’s important to keep in mind, your credit may be under scrutiny even up until closing.

In fact, since the closing process can take up to 3 months to complete, some lenders require a final credit check prior to closing in order to ensure your credit hasn’t undergone any significant changes. This means it’s important to be on top of your credit and avoid increasing your debt-to-income ratio (DTI) in any way during the process.

You should definitely avoid any changes in your credit reports in order to prevent giving the lender any reason to delay your loan closing, or even deciding to cancel the closing altogether.

The bottom line: Once you make your initial application for a home loan, avoid doing anything to your credit until you unlock the door to your new home.

Information found here.

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