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The journey of purchasing a home can be both exciting and daunting. One of the most crucial steps in this process is obtaining a mortgage pre-approval. However, many first-time homebuyers make mistakes that can hinder their chances of getting pre-approved. This blog post will guide you through the 10 common mortgage pre approval mistakes to avoid, ensuring a smooth and successful homebuying experience.

Key Takeaways

  • Understand your credit score and how to improve it.

  • Gather essential documents, shop around for lenders, and avoid major financial changes during pre-approval process.

  • Consider government backed loans, maintain steady employment, be mindful of debt to income ratio & do not overlook additional expenses when preparing for homeownership.

Understanding Your Credit Score

The mortgage pre-approval process heavily relies on your credit score, which illustrates your creditworthiness to mortgage lenders and your repayment capacity for the home loan. Before you start your homebuying journey, it’s important to scrutinize your credit report and address any inaccuracies with the credit reporting agencies and creditor. Doing so can prevent unpleasant surprises when applying for pre-approval.

Remember, pre-approval involves a hard credit check, which sets it apart from prequalification. Securing a mortgage pre-approval clarifies your borrowing capacity and the interest rates you’re eligible for.

How to Improve Your Credit Score

Boosting your credit score before applying for a mortgage increases the likelihood of securing better rates and terms. Enhancing your credit score requires focusing on debt repayment, ensuring timely payments, and refraining from opening new credit lines before applying for a mortgage.

Following these steps will not only improve your credit score, but also potentially eliminate the need for private mortgage insurance (PMI) if you can afford a sizeable down payment on your home loan. A good credit score can make it easier to work with a real estate agent and secure your dream home.

Gathering Essential Documents

A smooth pre-approval process depends on the proper organization and collection of essential documents. Here are some documents you will need:

  • Pay stubs

  • Tax returns

  • W-2s

  • Bank statements

  • Identification

Having these documents readily available can expedite your mortgage pre-approval and help you find the best mortgage lenders for your needs.

By being prepared, you prevent delays in the process and increase your chances of securing the home of your dreams.

Shopping Around for Lenders

Choosing the appropriate lender represents a significant step in the homebuying process. Shopping around and consulting with various lenders and a mortgage broker is vital to secure the most favorable rates, terms, and fees. Comparing offers from various lenders ensures that you receive the most advantageous deal and the most economical rates available.

Remember that closing costs, which typically range from 3% to 6% of the loan amount, should also be taken into consideration when comparing mortgage offerings. By doing your due diligence, you can save money and secure a mortgage that best suits your financial situation.

Avoiding Major Financial Changes

It’s crucial to refrain from making significant financial changes during the pre-approval process, as these can adversely affect your application. This includes:

  • Obtaining new credit cards or loans

  • Making large purchases or deposits

  • Changing jobs or income sources

  • Co-signing for someone else’s debt

Such changes can adversely affect your credit scores and debt-to-income ratio, possibly leading to late payments, delays, or even cancellation of your mortgage application.

Maintaining financial stability during this time increases your chances of a smooth and successful pre-approval process.

Communicating with Your Loan Officer

For a successful pre-approval process, it’s vital to establish and maintain consistent communication with your loan officer. Open lines of communication help ensure that any unexpected occurrences or complications that arise during the loan process are promptly addressed and resolved.

By being proactive and responsive to requests from your loan officer, you can contribute to a seamless pre-approval process and secure your mortgage with ease.

Reviewing Pre-Approval Terms and Conditions

After receiving your pre-approval letter, it’s important to examine the terms and conditions thoroughly to comprehend your mortgage options and prepare for possible variations in taxes or interest rates.

The pre-approval letter outlines the amount of funds you are preapproved to borrow, the type of loan you are eligible for, and the associated interest rates and fees. By reviewing this information, you will be well-equipped to make informed decisions and navigate the homebuying process with confidence.

Considering Government-Backed Loans

First-time homebuyers ought to consider government-backed loans, including Federal Housing Administration (FHA) loans, veteran loans from the VA, and loans provided by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). This makes it easier for farmers to get access to the funds they need. These loans offer reduced down payment requirements, more favorable terms, and competitive interest rates compared to conventional mortgages.

For example, certain VA loans are available with a 100% Loan-to-Value (LTV) ratio. By considering these options, you may find a mortgage that better suits your financial situation and needs.

Maintaining Steady Employment

The pre-approval process places significant emphasis on steady employment, given that lenders necessitate evidence of stable income and job security. Changing jobs before or during the pre-approval process can complicate your mortgage approval, as lenders seek to ensure stable income and job security.

To avoid potential delays or issues, consult with your mortgage loan officer before making any significant career changes.

Being Mindful of Debt-to-Income Ratio

Lenders rely heavily on your debt-to-income (DTI) ratio as a key metric to evaluate your capability to handle the mortgage you’re applying for. High levels of debt can negatively impact your pre-approval chances and overall affordability of a mortgage.

To improve your odds of securing a mortgage, consider paying down debt and avoiding significant new expenses, such as car loans or large purchases on a credit card. By being mindful of your DTI ratio, you can set yourself up for success in the homebuying process.

Not Overlooking Additional Expenses

When purchasing a home, it’s essential to account for additional expenses, including:

  • Closing costs

  • Maintenance

  • Insurance

  • Taxes

These costs should be factored into your overall budget to avoid financial strain and ensure you can comfortably afford your new home.

Also, remember to account for potential expenses like:

  • Property taxes

  • Homeowners/hazard insurance

  • Utilities

  • Maintenance

When evaluating your financial readiness for homeownership. By being aware of these added expenses, you can make informed decisions and enjoy a successful homebuying journey.


In conclusion, avoiding common mortgage pre-approval mistakes can significantly improve your chances of securing the best mortgage for your needs. By understanding your credit score, gathering essential documents, shopping around for lenders, maintaining steady employment, and being mindful of your debt-to-income ratio, you can navigate the homebuying process with confidence. Remember to stay vigilant and consider all factors, including additional expenses and government-backed loan options, to ensure a smooth and successful homebuying experience.

Frequently Asked Questions

What can mess up a pre-approval?

Making late payments, applying for new lines of credit, making large purchases, paying off and closing credit cards, co-signing loans for others, or changing jobs can all mess up a pre-approval.

These activities can cause a lender to re-evaluate your creditworthiness and potentially deny your loan. It’s important to stay on top of your credit and keep it in good standing during the pre-approval process.

How likely is it to be denied a mortgage after pre-approval?

It is possible to be denied a mortgage after pre-approval if something negative appears on your credit report, or if your income changes.

What not to say to a mortgage lender?

Avoid saying anything untruthful, asking what the most you can borrow, mentioning any overdue bills or new credit cards, and stating that changing jobs annually is your specialty when speaking to a mortgage lender.

When speaking to a mortgage lender, it is important to be honest and not make any false statements. Do not ask for the maximum amount you can borrow, and do not mention any overdue bills or new credit cards. Additionally, do not state that changing jobs annually is your specialty.

What negatively affects mortgage approval?

Having a high DTI ratio negatively affects a borrower’s chances for mortgage approval, as it shows the borrower may not be able to manage additional debt obligations.

This is why lenders often require a lower DTI ratio for mortgage approval.

What is the difference between pre-approval and prequalification?

A pre-approval requires a hard credit check, so it gives you a more accurate view of the loan amount and interest rates you qualify for.

Prequalification does not require a hard credit check, so its information is less reliable.