The process of buying a new home begins long before you actually start looking at houses. Finances play an important part in determining how much house you can afford. Your credit history and score, whether excellent, poor, or somewhere in between, is equally important, and determines everything from what interest rate you will pay to whether or not you get approved for financing.
There are several things to keep in mind when it comes to your credit, either for maintaining a good score, or improving a score that could use an upgrade.
- Check your credit report at least once a year. You are entitled to get a free copy every year from the three major credit bureaus.
- Review your report carefully and correct or dispute any errors, especially if they are on recent or current accounts.
- Make payments on time, always, and pay at least your minimum amount due. Late payments can quickly damage your credit rating.
- Pay down balances faster by paying above the minimum, even if it’s only $20 more. An extra $20 to $50 each month will make a difference in that balance.
- Be candid with your lender if you have less than stellar history on your credit report. Your lender will save time by looking only at loans that will work with your credit history.
- Expect to pay more for a mortgage if you have a poor credit history. Both the interest rate and fees may be higher, because lenders will see a higher risk. There may be extenuating circumstances that lenders will consider when looking at your loan, so be sure to discuss these with your loan officer.
- Consider a larger down payment to avoid paying mortgage insurance or PMI (private mortgage insurance).
- Evaluate your financial situation carefully to learn how much house you can afford.
- Don’t open new credit cards or lines of credit. This goes without saying that you should not obtain any additional credit, which can negatively affect your debt-to-income ratio.
- Don’t close accounts on your credit report. That won’t work if you are trying to get it off your report, and will cause the date of most recent activity to update to current. If it’s a derogatory but older item, it’s likely better to leave it alone, but check with your mortgage professional to be sure.
- Don’t keep shopping around with lenders. Each time the new potential lender must run a credit report, the extra inquiries on your report could hurt your score, especially if the inquiries are more than 30 to 60 days apart.
- Don’t carry more than 50 percent balance on credit cards. Lenders look at the overall percentage of your available credit that is used, and how much is available to you.
- Don’t make and finance any large purchases such as furniture or a new vehicle, or an expensive vacation. This kind of purchase can change your financial picture and impact your overall score.
Are you thinking about buying a house or looking to get pre-approved before shopping? I would be happy to assist in your quest of financing your new home. Please give me a call at 214-770-1499 or click here to contact me or complete the form below for a complimentary mortgage plan.