Advice to Buyers: Spend Cautiously Before Closing

Home buyers should take care not to run up a lot of debt between the time they are approved for a mortgage and the day they go to the closing table.

Many lenders are pulling credit history and credit scores within a week of a buyer’s scheduled closing date just to make sure nothing major has changed. What the lender doesn’t want to see is a huge run-up of credit-card debt or other loans. The lender also may require the borrower to sign a statement at closing affirming that there has been no change in the borrower's financial ability to repay the loan and that the borrower's employment status remains the same.Home buyers should be particularly cautious not to throw their debt ratio out of whack by buying things for the new home before they own it because the added debt might change their credit score and the lender may no longer be willing to lend them money at the rate promised, or maybe not at all.

The best advice, experts say, is to wait to do that shopping until after closing.

Source: Ilyce Glink, Real Estate Matters Syndicate (11/09/2007)