Question: We are buyers, applying for a mortgage. Our lender yelled at us for getting a department store credit card, during the process. I just wanted to save 20% with my back to school clothes purchase. Did I mess up our mortgage application?

Answer: While applying for a mortgage loan, you need to essentially freeze any other borrowing. This includes the simple department store card, aggressively pushed at the checkout counter.

When your lender reviewed your application, they crafted your max loan amount based on many factors. Of importance: your monthly income versus your monthly debt obligation. A snapshot is taken at the time of your application, and then again before your closing. A major debt obligation can throw off your “debt to income ratio,” making you ineligible for your mortgage.

A few years ago, we were buying our home, but needed a new car. To avoid a problem, we actually rented a car for the summer. Crazy, and expensive, for sure. But we kept our credit slate clean for our lender. Once in our home, we hit the dealerships.

Priority Law advises on real estate transactions. Here are some other things to avoid when applying for a home loan.

Attorney James Haroutunian is the founder of Priority Law. This article was originally published in the Lowell Sun and is for informational purposes only and not to be relied on as legal advice, in any manner.