You found your dream home, made an offer and it was accepted. You’re pre-approved for a loan and feeling good. Your mind is now focused on moving. Hold on. A pre-approval is not a loan guarantee. To ensure a smooth mortgage process, avoid these four things during closing.

DO NOT take on new debt.

I realize with a new home comes the desire to purchase new furniture, appliances and sometimes even a shiny new car for the garage. Some stores offer no-money down and zero percent interest credit. It’s tempting to start purchasing.

Taking on new debt may raise your debt ratio (the relationship of income to debt). Banks and mortgage companies weigh this number heavily to determine your credit worthiness. Raising it could cause heartache at the end of your transaction. Loan officers run another credit check a few days before closing to verify no new debt has been obtained.

DO NOT Change Jobs.

The stability of your job and income are essential to your loan approval. Your capability of repayment is ultimately what the lender needs to see. Changing jobs during the purchase process could complicate things. For example, if switching from a W-2 salaried status to a contractor or full commission job would most likely disqualify you (that income typically needs two years of income for calculation). A bank typically needs to see 30 days on the job, at least one pay stub and time to verify employment. Verification of income is sent to the employer to make sure the income matches the paystub and that you are still employed, as well as a verbal verification a day or so before closing.

DO NOT stop paying your bills.

A new home purchase can become expensive when you are out closing costs that aren’t part of your typical monthly obligations. You have additional costs like movers. Even if money gets tight, pay your bills. Remember, loan officers will re-pull credit at the end of the transaction.

DO NOT pack up important papers.

You’re stoked about moving. Maybe you’ve already started packing. Make sure you don’t pack up tax documents, bank statements, paystubs or any other important documents that might be requested by your loan officer. The quicker you can respond to the processing requests of your loan, the quicker it will be approved. Delaying the response can delay closing.

Buying a home is exciting, but until you sign the papers at closing, your mortgage isn’t final. Loan officers issue a pre-qualification based on the documentation you provide. The final approval is issued on documents retrieved between signing the contract and loan closing. The final underwriting decision is made on a final credit review, tax transcripts, verification of employment and verification of deposit, NOT the initial credit, tax returns, paystubs and bank statements.

Loan officers are here to make this process as smooth and as simple as possible. Be open with your loan officer and make sure they completely understand your situation and that one of the above doesn’t become a gotcha moment.

Lenders at RCB Bank are happy to help answer questions even if you are not a customer. Give us a call or visit our online Mortgage Center.

Opinions expressed above are the personal opinions of the author and meant for generic illustration purposes only.  RCB Bank is an Equal Housing Lender and member FDIC. RCB Bank NMLS #798151. Kenneth Wohl NMLS #453934.