If you’re buying a home – especially as a first-time buyer – it’s likely that you’ll need to take out a mortgage. A mortgage allows you to pay off the cost of the home over many years. However, more so than any loan, taking out a mortgage is rarely straightforward.
Mistakes during the mortgage application process could result in you getting rejected or spending more than is necessary. Below are just five of the biggest mistakes that people make when applying for a mortgage.
Mortgage Application Mistakes
Failing to shop around
Before completing a mortgage application, you should make sure that you’ve spent a good amount of time shopping around. The first mortgage deal you find is unlikely to be the best deal – by searching far and wide, you can find a mortgage deal with the best-suited deposit, best-suited term, and lowest interest rates.
There are lots of sites that you can use to compare mortgages. It’s worth also looking at mortgages not featured on comparison sites – you can use mortgage calculators to give you a better idea of what you’ll be spending.
It’s worth sticking to local mortgage lenders. Ideally, you want a mortgage lender that understands the type of property you’re buying. For instance, if you’re buying a home in Singapore, it could be worth looking for mortgages offered by Singaporean lenders such as a DBS home loan. A local mortgage broker may be able to help you find the best local deals. They may even have special relationships with local brokers allowing them to access exclusive deals not found on the market.
Saving up too little upfront
Most mortgage lenders will require you to put down a minimum deposit. Saving up for this deposit as a first-time buyer isn’t easy. Many first-time buyers get impatient and save up too little – this could mean that you’re heavily limited as to which property you buy and which mortgages you can afford.
It’s also important before filling up a mortgage application and when saving up for a deposit to also save up for other expenses. This includes the mortgage valuation fee and legal fees. There could also be various moving costs to consider such as hiring a moving company and possibly getting a home survey done.
All in all, you should try to save up as much as you can. It could mean spending an extra year saving, but you’ll be able to complete a better mortgage application and you’ll be able to afford all the extra moving costs.
Not sorting out your credit score/debts first
When completing a mortgage application, you’ll have to meet various criteria. This could include having a good credit score and not too many existing debts.
Your credit score is largely affected by your ability to pay bills on time, however, it can be affected by other factors. You can check your credit score for free using various apps. If your credit score is poor – you may want to consider looking into ways of building your credit score before applying for a mortgage. If your credit score is high, then you’ve got no need to worry about being rejected.
Existing debts can also be something to consider. If you’ve taken out lots of loans or fallen into arrears in the last six months, you might find it hard to get approved. Mortgage lenders tend to look at your previous six months of financial history to determine whether they can trust you to pay off a mortgage. If you’ve been borrowing money to pay off bills or missing bill payments during that time, it could be a red flag. For this reason, it’s worth sorting out your finances six months prior to completing a mortgage application.
Changing jobs before moving
Another mistake to avoid before completing a mortgage application is changing jobs shortly beforehand. It’s better to be in a long-term job before completing a mortgage application – this proves that you have a stable income and that you’re more likely to be able to make monthly repayments.
If you’ve been thinking of getting a new job, consider switching jobs six months before starting the mortgage application process or plan to get a new job after. Don’t try to switch jobs while applying for a mortgage (unless you’re relocating somewhere far away, in which case it’s likely to be more understandable). If you’re self-employed, you may have to prove that you’ve had two years of steady income before being approved.
Overlooking hidden fees
Mortgages can sometimes come with hidden fees. It’s worth always reading the small print to ensure that you’re not caught out by these fees – what might seem like a good mortgage deal on the surface could turn out to be very expensive later down the line.
There are lots of hidden upfront fees to be wary of including mortgage arrangement fees, valuation fees, higher lending charges and even a transfer fee. These could all add up – potentially adding hundred or thousands on top of your deposit. Try to enquire into these fees if you can so that you’re certain that you have enough money to afford them.
There can also be hidden fees to look out for in the long run. One of the nastiest is early repayment fees – if you decide to pay back some or all of your mortgage early, you could be charged extra! This is something you should always look out for when applying to a mortgage. Some mortgages will also come with expensive late payment fees or huge interest penalties. There are even many mortgages that charge exit fees – after paying off your mortgage, you could then be expected to pay an extra fee. Again, try to look into these costs, even if they seem like something you may not have to worry about for a while.