5 Things that can Hurt Your Chances of Getting a Mortgage

5 Things that can Hurt Your Chances of Getting a Mortgage

Before starting the process of shopping for a home, explore the following five areas to see how you will look in the eyes of a lender:

1. Credit Report errors

The key to getting the best mortgage rate is good credit. One in four adults have serious errors on their credit reports. The Fair Credit Reporting Act requires credit-reporting agencies to fix these mistakes but it’s up to you to find the problems and to ask for the errors to be corrected.  We discussed Increasing Your Credit Score in an earlier post.

Order a free copy of your credit report from each of the three reporting agencies:

Tell the credit reporting agency about any errors you find.

You can initiate an investigation online for all three credit reporting agencies. If you use the online dispute feature on the credit-reporting agency web site, also send them a letter certified mail with return receipt requested.

Each agency has a phone number listed for disputes. If you call, keep detailed notes and follow the phone call with a letter. Tell the creditor about any mistakes.

Send a letter to the creditor notifying it that you dispute the information that the creditor has reported. Explain what information is incorrect and ask the company to stop reporting it. Include copies of information that supports your case.

2. Closing credit card accounts
Paying down credit card balances will improve your financial picture, however, reducing your amount of available credit by closing accounts can actually lower your credit score.

For credit cards, the law defines billing errors as any charge:

    1. for something you didn’t buy or for a purchase made by someone not authorized to use your account
    2. for something that is not properly identified on your bill or is for an amount different from the actual purchase price or was entered on a date different from the purchase date
    3. for something that you did not accept on delivery or that was not delivered according to agreement
    4. errors in arithmetic
    5. failure to show a payment or other credit to your account
    6. failure to mail the bill to your current address, if you told the creditor about an address change at least 20 days before the end of the billing period
    7. questionable items, or any item for which you need more information

The addresses set up to receive disputes should appear on your credit report or you can initiate the dispute online.

3. Getting rid of HELOC

If you already own a home and have an existing home equity line of credit, or HELOC, keep it. You may need the funds again in the future and won’t have to go through the trouble of applying for one.

4. Getting in over your head
There is a difference between the maximum payment you can qualify for and the amount you can comfortably afford. Know the difference. If you’re just getting by with your current rent payment and the lender says you qualify for more, think about it!

5. Changing jobs
Lenders like to see a steady history of employment and frown on job changes while your application is pending, unless the new job is in the same field and at the same or greater pay. If you do take a new job, experts suggest getting a letter stating you’ve completed the probation period for a new job to allay lender concerns.

When you’re planning to purchase a home, the first step is to clean up your credit history and get your financials in order. Be prepared to spend the time and effort it takes to make yourself credit worthy. The better your credit report, the lower the interest rate you will qualify for.

Feel free to leave questions or comments below on cleaning up your credit history.

This post has 4 Comments | Would you like to leave a comment?


  1. Dear G:

    I am not aware of age being an issue. A friend recently qualified to buy a home and he is in his mid 70’s. What the lender will consider is your credit score, income and how much you have to put down. Like anyone else, the bank needs to see that you can afford to make your payments every month.

  2. Can my age hurt my chance of getting a new Mortgage? 68 years old!

  3. The filing is public record. You will need to write a letter of explanation to ALL credit bureaus and explain to every lender or credit offering your situation.

    It can be done, it just takes time so – get started!

  4. Thanks, Karen for a informative news letter, & getting information to peploe like me who have had credit problems but chose to do something about it now, I do have a question, back in 2006 Feb I filled for bankruptcy, chapter 11 pay back, but before my conmenscement date I back down is that still considered a bankruptcy or can I get this removed from my credit report, because there were no finalizing of the agreement, help, I need a answer.
    Thanks for being informative
    Mike Couch

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