Okay. You have been doing some online house hunting and found a few homes in an area you like. This gives you the confidence you need take the next steps.
- You see an ad on TV and call for a mortgage loan.
They take some basic information from you – your social security number to run a credit report, how much you make, how much you owe, and generally how much home you want to purchase. You begin getting all the back up documents together to provide to the loan officer.
- You select a Real Estate Agent to represent you as you move forward locating the right home, making an offer, and completing all the things that have to be completed before you close on the deal.
But did you know?
Loan officers normally provide best-case scenario loan estimates. Depending on your credit score, there may be credit-score adjustments down the road that cause you to take a hit on the interest rate. The lower the credit score, the higher the interest rate adjustment. So ask what the likelihood of an adjustment is when you get the good faith estimate (fee sheet). Ask if this estimate is firm.
I’ve had clients tell me that they don’t want to have multiple loan companies pulling their credit scores since everyone knows that multiple hits can negatively affect your credit score and if they are borderline, they don’t want the hits themselves to leave them out in the cold without a loan.
Well, guess what? If the credit score hits are mortgage-based, and done within a same 90 day period, only the first hit shows up as a hard hit. The others are considered to be within the same category of hits. Don’t go crazy though. To be safe, only shop around with two or three mortgage companies. More than that and you could (not will, but could) find yourself with more hard hits than are recommended. The credit companies take into consideration that smart loan shoppers are likely to check rates with two or three mortgage companies rather than going with the first one they talk to. Your Agent may be able to provide you with a list of other companies to shop your loan request to.
You have a good mortgage rate and company…
Now be disciplined! Do not increase your debt by taking out any other loans, buying or leasing cars, buying new furniture for the house, or running up your credit cards. Continue to pay your bills faithfully. Once you enter into a contract on a house, it will be another 30-60 days before you actually close on the deal and are able to move in. You should probably move your needed down payment and moving money in a separate savings account and out of your checking account so you don’t accidentally spend it. And it can earn interest for you in the meantime.