Mortgage Loan Approval – Things NOT to do

Applying for a home loan can be a stressful time, but doesn’t need to be if you follow certain rules that can unexpectedly trip up your mortgage loan approval.

Some of these tips will be obvious, while others won’t – but all of them are items that regularly cause underwriting headaches. Avoiding these mistakes will help lead to a smooth stress free home loan closing.

images124Dos and Donts of a Smooth Home Loan Approval

  • DO continue to live at your current home.
  • DO continue to make your home loan payments or rent payments on time
  • DO continue to use your credit as normal (but see don’t items)
  • DO keep working at your current job.
  • DO keep your same insurance company.
  • DO stay current on all your existing accounts.
  • DO keep credit card balances low (below 25% of available credit is perfect)
  • DO call your home loan expert if you have any questions.

DON’T  do any of these items within 90-days of application or until after closing

  • DON’T apply for ANY new credit. No cars, no furniture, no credit cards, no cell phones, no boats, no new loans of any kind
  • DON’T buy any furniture ON CREDIT after you’ve found your dream home
  • DON’T close any credit card accounts,  or consolidate your debt onto one or two credit cards.
  • DON’T pay off any loans or credit cards without discussing it with your Loan Officer.
  • DON’T change bank accounts
  • DON’T move money around from one account to another.
  • DON’T pay off collection and charge offs accounts without a discussion with your home loan expert.
  • DON’T amend your tax returns
For a Refinance
  • DON’T start any home improvement projects, or don’t bother applying until any current project is finished

The biggest item left is simply this… ALWAYS tell your Loan Officer EVERYTHING. Not thinking it is important, or even straight up lying, is only going to cause trouble down the line.  You’d be surprised at the checks underwriting does during the process, and the things that are “discovered”. Mention everything it to your licensed Loan Officer right away so they can help you determine the best way to achieve your home loan goals, and avoid any unnecessary delays or surprises during the process.


How to tell if a condo or townhome is FHA Loan Approved

FHA Condo Association Approval Web siteWhen buying a condo, there is an extra step many home buyers may not understand that can effect the loan.

Lenders will credit qualify the home buyer, and of course do an appraisal review of the property.  But with any condo, the lender also needs to review the association.  This is done on all loans, including conventional, FHA, and VA.

If the buyer is using an FHA Loan, the condo or townhouse will need to have prior FHA Approval. If a condo association is  not FHA approved, it could indicate a problem with the association that could make getting financing in that complex hard or even impossible.

How do I verify a condo association is FHA approved?

It is actually rather simple.  Simply go to the FHA condo website at

I find it best to search by city or zip code rather than association name. It is the easiest way to get a positive search result.

If the complex is not listed, then it is not approved. If the association not approved, the association needs to get the approval. There is nothing the buyer can do on their own to get the association FHA Approved.

Many times, this forces the potential buy to switch to a conventional loan.  Conventional loans also need condo association approval, but on conventional loans, there is also a pre-approval process. But is the complex is not pre-approved, there IS case-by-case process on conventional loans.

A townhouse may actually be a condo

It looks like a town home, it acts like a town home, but it may legally be a condominium. Don’t assume. Be sure to check with your Realtor or the Association itself. A good rule, but not always is hidden in the legal description.  If it says “Lot and Block”, it is most likely a town home.  If is says “CIC” or Common Interest Community, then it is likely a condo.

Do you already live in a condo that is not FHA Approved?

If you already live in a condo and the association is NOT approved, you should attend the next association meeting to talk about getting the complex approved. Frankly, the lack of an FHA approval means less buyers can buy in your complex, therefore significantly reducing the value of your unit.  It doesn’t cost very much, and is not very difficult for the association to get FHA approval.