Avoid my mortgage closing mistakes

Men shaking hands

When I took out my first mortgage, I was 27.

Looking back, the whole process seemed totally beyond me, and I guess I just let people tell me what needed to be done. When it came time to close on the house, I’ll admit I wasn’t even certain what that meant.

If I remember correctly, my real estate agent just told me to "come ready to sign a stack of papers."

I showed up and did just that.

Closing costs were never actually discussed with me like they should have been. I was given the Good Faith Estimate, but to me it was really a bunch of math I didn’t understand.

At my closing, I had to bring nothing to the table and was excited to find I actually got a significant amount of cash back -- though to this day I don’t know why.

What I do know is I ended up paying dearly for that ignorance.

I had a monthly payment I could not afford for a house I could only live in for a year.

This is just one of the mortgage mistakes I made.

We ended up moving back with family in another state, and I had to sell the house long-distance. I earned nothing off the deal but a few more gray hairs.

This time around when we purchased our second (and current) home, I was smarter.

I researched everything I could.

Our lender was very thorough with our initial GFE, and we fully understood what was expected of us at closing.

I had confidence that we were doing the right thing.

In 10 years I have come a long way, realizing the value of financial education and real estate.

In a previous post I wrote about our nation's lack of home loan literacy. It is frightening to think how many more young couples get way more than they bargained for at closing.

Showing up on a day when you think you will be walking away with keys to your new home only to find you are short a few thousand dollars and a certified check can be devastating to the psyche.

However, you can prevent disaster and delayed closing if you take on the responsibility of finding out all you need to know instead of going with the flow like I did the first time.

The people "guiding" you through the process might not always have your best interests at heart.

There is commission and fees involved and as most good business people see it, an uneducated buyer is a nice opportunity to get more. I am sure those involved in my first home-buying experience made a tidy profit.

This time I made sure that things were more than fair for me.