Here's another weekly installment of Do's and Don't's for prospective borrowers embarking on, or already engaged in the home mortgage process.  In case it needs to be said, the "Don't's" are strictly for comedy (though most are based on real world examples of things that will kill or greatly delay the mortgage process). 

The "do's," on the other hand, are potentially valuable nuggets of information that may greatly benefit your mortgage experience.  In fact, most of them can end up making a difference in the success or failure of a loan, and at the very least, can help avoid costly delays.


Do:    Observe municipal and subdivision restrictions on number of pets you can house in your new home.
Don't:  Install leg traps in your new backyard to harvest any wayward weasels or squirrels wandering through it.

Do:     Alert your appraiser if you recently finished your basement or built an addition.
Don't:  Inform your appraiser your large walk-in closet qualifies as a bedroom because your daughter hosts occasional slumber parties in it. 

Do:     Get your buyers' agent's recommendation for how much your sales offer should be.
Don't:  Call the sellers' agent and ask him the lowest amount the sellers are willing to accept for their home.

Do:     Interview several buyers' agents and select the one you feel most comfortable with.
Don't:  Sign simultaneous buyer's agency agreements with three agents "just so you have more options available."

Do:     Give the title company or closing attorney information on all liens against the home you're selling.
Don't:  Open a home equity line two days before selling your current house to purchase furniture for your new home.

Do:     Understand that your sales contract is a binding agreement with specific legal consequences.
Don't:  Ask your agent to show you other homes after you have an accepted contract "to see what else is out there."

Do:     Remember that location, school district, and nearby amenities are critical to consider while home shopping.
Don't:  Center your home search exclusively near someone you just friended on Facebook "who seems really nice."          

Do:     Consider asking for seller paid closing costs to help you afford your new home.  
Don't:  Tell the sellers' agent "there's an extra $500 in it for you" if his clients pay your closing costs.

Do:     Make sure you understand your rate and lock details before signing the initial loan disclosures.
Don't:  Call your loan officer during closing to ask him if rates have dropped since final loan approval.

Do:     Ask your loan officer if a gift from a family member is an acceptable source for your down payment.
Don't:  Take out a payday loan so your earnest money check doesn't bounce.


Above all else, DO remember that your loan originator wants to close your loan as quickly and as efficiently as you and the good ones fully appreciate that their borrowers' satisfaction plays a huge role in their long term success.