- Homebuyers closing on a home may be tempted to buy new appliances or furniture right away.
- Real estate agents say overspending, opening new lines of credit, or cosigning someone else’s loan can prevent you from closing.
- Also avoid quitting or switching jobs because it raises red flags for the underwriter.
- Read more stories from Personal Finance Insider.
Once you put in an offer on your dream home, the weeks spent waiting to close can be brutal.
While deciding whether or not to give you mortgage, lenders are looking at your accounts and credit history with a fine-tooth comb. You may be tempted to celebrate early by buying new furniture or splurging on a celebratory I-just-bought-a-new-house purchase, but real estate agents recommend waiting until you actually close on the home to do anything big.
Here are seven common mistakes homebuyers make during the closing process that hurt their chances of getting their dream home.
1. Opening a new line of credit
Real estate agent Cedric Stewart at Entourage RG in Washington, DC says that homebuyers typically have more access to credit before they buy a home because they’ve likely spent time paying down debt and cleaning as much of their credit history as possible.
It can be tempting to open up a new credit card, but Stewart says, “If [the lender] sees you reaching out to get your hands on more credit, it could trigger questions about your financial situation that sink your chances of owning your dream home.”
2. Buying new appliances or furniture
Stewart also says that buying new furniture or new appliances, like an HVAC for a fixer-upper home, can hurt your chances of closing on a home as well. “A bill for $10,000 worth of beds and couches can make underwriters unhappy and throw your debt profile out of whack,” he explains, adding, “It’s the right thing to do for your home, just at the wrong time.”
3. Buying or leasing a car
Similar to opening up new lines of credit, or incurring big costs for furniture and appliances, buying or leasing a car during the closing process can raise red flags for the lenders and hurt your process of closing on a home.
4. Cosigning anyone else’s loans
Stewart shares a story with Insider about a client who had to walk away from a deal because he had cosigned a friend’s car loan a few months ago.
“We were at the settlement table and the loan officer said there was a problem,” Steward says. “The client ruined his chances of becoming a first-time homebuyer because he wanted to help a friend with bad credit.” Don’t cosign anyone else’s loans, or make anyone an authorized user on your credit card during this time.
5. Quitting your job or switching to a new job
“The lender has equated your employment and ability to pay the loan based on your current job,” realtor Chantay Clark Bridges at eXp Realty of California, Inc. tells Insider. Any sudden changes in your employment can raise red flags in the lender’s eyes and hurt your chances of closing on the house.
6. Listening to your friends over your realtor
“In lieu of trusting their realtor who has years and years of experience closing on homes, they listen to their cousin or the coworker in the cubicle next to them — who in turn have provided very bad advice,” Bridges says.
For example, a family member might tell you to play hardball with closing costs without considering how competitive your neighborhood is, and their advice might cost you the house. While your cousin or coworker might have done something to help secure their own mortgage, the same exact piece of advice might not work for your own process.
7. Paying down student loans, or other large debts
Realtor Kate Ziegler at Arborview Realty in Boston, MA and Coldwell Banker Lifestyles in New London, NH says you should avoid “what might otherwise seem like positive credit changes,” like paying off your student loans in one fell swoop.
She continues, “Unless your lender specifically advises that course of action, changes to credit combined with a dip in your savings can be a red flag to underwriters when they do a final check just before closing.”