I get it. You don’t buy or sell homes every day, so you don’t know the (often times) unwritten rules of Real Estate. So, here I am, pulling back the curtain and letting you see inside our daily lives, and to answer the burning question of, “I wonder if I should tell my agent/lender this….” (Spoiler alert: YES!!! YES YOU SHOULD!!!)
Let’s assume you’re like the majority of buyers and need to take out a mortgage. You’ve saved for your downpayment. Your credit is looking good. You are ready to buy your new home! So let’s celebrate this house hunting adventure by going to Ikea and opening up a credit card so you can furnish your new digs.
Opening new lines of credit is a MAJOR no-no in mortgage world. The banks don’t like to see hits to your credit report, or having open lines of credit, because that means you’re needing to use someone else’s money to buy things, and they don’t love that.
Ok, so no shopping sprees yet. Now you’ve found THE house. It’s everything you’ve ever wanted, it’s below budget, the sellers are making all the repairs you’ve asked for, and you’re almost ready to close. And wouldn’t you know it, the universe is so amazing right now, you just got offered your dream job and they want you to start tomorrow!
Pump the breaks.
Job changes during the mortgage process are also a big no-no. Your income has been validated by pay stubs and your employer, and changing careers mid-buying process will drastically impact your ability to close on your new home. Tell your future boss that you can start AFTER you close, and just hang tight at your current job for just a little bit longer.
Additional no-nos during the mortgage process include things like:
- don’t buy a car
- don’t co-sign for a car (or anything for that matter)
- don’t make large or unusual cash deposits into your account (this is because all money going into your account has to be sourced. Your paycheck is fine, of course, however mid-loan is not the time to go to CoinStar and finally cash in all that couch money you’ve been saving for years. Lenders have to know you’re not getting a loan to show money in your account in order to get a [mortgage] loan.
- don’t hide recurring payments (i.e. child support) — people will find out
- in fact, in general, don’t lie about your debt and/or income
Ok the lenders sound kind of boring, and like they don’t want you to have any fun, or they’re spying on you through this whole process (honestly, kinda feels that way…sorry lenders). Let’s get to the good stuff: the actual house shopping part. Surely there aren’t so many rules there, right?
Right. Most of my rules as the agent are more common sense, and just general “be a good person” rules. For instance:
- don’t steal things or break things in the houses as you look at them
- don’t move your stuff in without permission before closing, which leads me to….
- ….don’t move someone else’s stuff out before closing
- don’t spend your downpayment money
- don’t try visit property without your agent
I know…seems kinda obvious, right? But the reality is, this is my world every day, and not yours, so it’s up to me to make sure you know what is and isn’t ok. I don’t want you to do something that could cost yourself your dream home, court fees, or land you in real estate jail (or actual jail). Sit down with your agent before looking at properties and make sure all the expectations are clearly lined out for both of you, and there are as few surprises along the way as possible.
Oh yeah, I almost forgot the last, and most important rule of all:
Have a freakin’ blast!
Katie Messenger is a Realtor and self-proclaimed and publicly validated baller with the Bello Dimora Network of Keller Williams Louisville East. She can be reached via her website at BelloDimora.com