Tips for mortgage approval and funding dates

In light of the new market realities and tightening of credit underwriting standards by both lenders and mortgage default insurers as of late, keep in mind that now – more than ever – it’s important to be careful what you do between the time your mortgage is approved and when it funds (when you move in).

A few mortgage lenders and insurers have been doing something lately that they have not done in a long time – pulling new credit bureaus prior to funding, especially if there is a long period between the time of your approval and when the mortgage actually funds.

The following are eight tips to keep in mind between your mortgage approval and funding dates.

– Don’t buy a new car or trade-up to a more expensive lease.

– Don’t quit your job or change jobs. Even if it’s a better-paying job, you still are likely to be on a probationary period. If in doubt, call your mortgage professional and they can let you know if this may jeopardize your approval.

– Don’t change industries, decide to become self-employed or accept a contract position even if it’s within the same industry. Delay the start of your new job, self-employment or contract status until after the funding date of your mortgage.

– Don’t transfer large sums of money between bank accounts. Lenders get especially skittish about this one because it looks like you’re borrowing money. Be ready to document cash transactions or money movements.

– Don’t forget to pay your bills, even ones that you’re disputing. This can be a real deal-breaker. If the lender pulls your credit bureau prior to closing and sees a collection or a delinquent account, the best you can hope for is that they make you pay off the account before they will fund. You don’t want to have to scramble to pay off a debt at the last minute.

– Don’t open new credit cards. Again, just wait until after your funding date.

– Don’t accept a cash gift without properly documenting it – even if this is from proceeds of a wedding. If you have a bunch of cash to deposit before your funding date, give your mortgage professional a call before you deposit it.

– Don’t buy furniture on the ‘Do not pay for XX years plan’ until after funding. Even though you don’t have to pay now, it will still be reported on your credit bureau, and will become an issue as the lender still needs to include a payment for it – especially if your approval was tight to begin with.

While you may not risk losing your mortgage approval because you have broken one of these rules, it’s always best to talk to your mortgage professional before doing any of the above just to make sure. You don’t want to be on the receiving end of a deal that cannot complete because of something that could have been avoided so easily.

Jean-Guy Turcotte is a Mortgage Broker with Dominion Lending Centres – Regional Mortgage Group.

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