Are you planning to apply for a mortgage in the very near future? The period leading up to mortgage shopping is a great time to improve your finances and credit score. But once you plan to pull the trigger, it's time to shift to stability in a few key areas. Which things should you stabilize and maintain during the mortgage purchase process? Here are a few of the most important things and why.

1. Keep Income Stable

Your income is one of the most important determining factors in which mortgages you qualify for. Ideally, the average monthly income for everyone involved in the mortgage should remain pretty stable until you close on the loan. This could include both increases and decreases in income. Some changes can't — or shouldn't — be avoided, of course, but meet with your loan agent if you expect any. 

2. Keep Credit Use Stable

Most people check their credit and work to improve any weaknesses before they start mortgage shopping. But as the time actually arrives, stop making changes to it. Too many inquiries lower your score and may cause underwriters to delay approval for further verification. Even closing open credit accounts can drop your score unexpectedly. And changes made too close to the wire may not even show up. 

3. Keep Bank Balances Stable

Avoid adding or subtracting large sums from your bank balances at this time. Large transactions could trigger red flags that must be investigated before loan approval. Rules require lenders to understand the source of your income — and possibly to document it. So if it could cause any confusion, make a point of delaying transactions when possible. 

4. Keep Employment Stable

Unless it's imperative, try not to change jobs during the mortgage approval and closing process. Underwriters consider your length of employment history, so you may get a surprise response if it's different than what is expected. In addition, you may have to do more verification that can delay things — especially if adding a self-employment or business income to the mix. 

5. Keep Debts Stable

Finally, don't take on new debts once you've started qualification. This includes things like co-signing loans for others or making purchases you plan to pay off immediately. Most people know that they should try not to take on big new credit purchases, but even small new debts alter your credit score and change your debt-to-income ratio. 

Where to Learn More

Want more tips for what to do before you start mortgage shopping and when to focus on stabilizing your credit factors instead? Start by meeting with a qualified mortgage loan company today to find answers to your pressing questions.  

Contact a local company like Pacific Mortgage Group for more information.