Tag Archive for: Credit Score

Whether your purchasing in a more affluent area of Northeastern Pennsylvania (NEPA) or not, credit woes could hinder your homebuying experience. Embarking on the journey to homeownership begins with building a robust credit score. In this article, we’ll explore seven practical steps that elevate your credit score and set a solid foundation for securing your ideal property. From managing debts to strategic financial planning, each point is tailored to ensure you are on the fastest track to qualifying for a mortgage.

Timely Bill Payments

Did you know that making prompt payments is crucial for maintaining a healthy credit score? While on-time payments can boost your score, missing a payment could potentially drop your credit score 180 points in some instances, according to Lending Tree. If you miss or forget to make a payment, don’t panic. Making the payment before it’s thirty days late will prevent it from being reported to one of the “big three” nationwide credit bureaus: Equifax, TransUnion, and Experian. Every on-time payment positively impacts your credit history, showing lenders you are reliable and financially responsible. Consider setting up automatic payments or calendar reminders to ensure you never miss a due date. By keeping your costs consistent, you demonstrate financial stability, which is critical when lenders assess your creditworthiness for a home loan.

Strategic Budget Management

To get your debt under control, start by creating a monthly household budget. This is a step you shouldn’t glance over. Even people who have rebounded from bad credit will remark that for some of them it began with digging themselves into a financial hole. For them, not having a handle on their expenses started a downward spiral, which they halted once they began to budget and regained their footing. Free templates are available online to help you get started budgeting. You can choose from various template styles that fit your financial circumstances. Once you find a template, customize it to suit your needs better. You can use this tool to identify areas for financial improvement by tracking your income and expenses. This proactive approach allows you to manage your finances more effectively and regain control over your debt.

Disputing Credit Report Errors

Your credit report is the blueprint lenders use to evaluate your creditworthiness; ensuring its accuracy is non-negotiable. Review your credit report regularly and dispute any inaccuracies you find. Whether it’s an erroneous account detail or incorrect payment status, rectifying these errors can significantly improve your credit score. This process can be intricate, so consider consulting a credit expert if you’re unsure how to proceed. If you do discover an error and report it, but your claim isn’t taken seriously or adequately responded to, you have rights and can pursue other means of rectifying your situation, such as adding a statement of dispute to your file or even bringing a lawsuit to the table. For more details on how to dispute errors on your credit report, explore this article.

Strategic Debt Reduction

Picture your debt and your credit score as a see-saw, if you will. Reducing your existing debt is a direct method to boosting your credit score. Yet, not all debt is created equal. For instance, a mortgage is healthier debt, generally-speaking, than thousands of dollars past due in your name owed to credit card companies. For starters, focus on high-interest debts first, as they are the most costly. By paying more than the minimum payment each month, you reduce the principal balance faster, which decreases your overall interest payments and improves your credit utilization ratio. This disciplined approach reflects positively on your credit reports, makes you a more attractive candidate to lenders and helps you navigate the purchase process.

Professional Credit Guidance

Sometimes, managing your credit requires professional guidance. Working with a financial advisor, a credit repair agency or a non-profit credit counseling agency can provide you with customized strategies to improve your credit score based on your unique financial situation. These professionals can offer insights into complex credit issues and help you develop a plan to tackle them effectively, ensuring you remain on track toward achieving your homeownership goals. A word of caution here though. There are legitimate credit repair companies available to assist you, but you’ll want to be careful because fraudulent ones do exist. Do your homework. Consult the Better Business Bureau (BBB). Read testimonials from others, who may have been in a similar situation as you presently find yourself. As always, be leery of big promises! Instead, rely on guidance or coaching that’s both encouraging you and providing you with practical advise, steps you can address yourself.

Optimizing Credit Utilization

Keeping your credit utilization ratio low strongly indicates sound credit management. Aim to use less than 30% of your available credit across all cards or make it your goal to pursue the best credit utilization ratio. This helps lift your credit score and assures lenders of your ability to manage credit without maxing out your resources. Regularly monitoring your credit usage and adjusting your spending can profoundly impact your credit health. Resisting the temptation to rely on your credit cards can benefit you here and strengthen your utilization ratio over time. Furthermore, you can aim to use less of your available credit by using your debit card rather than your credit card(s), if that helps.

Utilize Different Types of Credit

Adding a variety of credit accounts like installment loans, retail accounts and credit cards can improve your credit score. This mix shows creditors that you can handle different types of credit. You should maintain this variety to demonstrate responsible credit management. Make sure to manage each credit account wisely. Always ensure timely payments and keep balances low. These actions are essential to maximize the benefits to your credit score.

 

Improving your credit score is essential for securing a favorable mortgage and being able to purchase a home. By implementing these strategies, you enhance your financial reputation and demonstrate reliability to lenders. Each action to boost your credit score moves you closer to purchasing your dream home. Focus on maintaining patience, discipline and consistent effort in managing your finances. Remember, every improvement, no matter how small, contributes to your overall credit health and your journey toward homeownership.

 

[This article is compliments of FixItDads]

So you’ve finally convinced yourself now is the time to buy a home. Maybe this is your first rodeo, but perhaps you’ve purchased before. Whether you’re a first-time homebuyer or not, ending up with the property you love for a price you can live with is the goal. Achieving this goal can be grasped through knowledge (it’s power!) and a keen insight into your local market. Focus on your goals and the information at your fingertips, it can save you grief as well as nasty surprises down the road.

When it comes to real estate, very few like surprises. In fact, many don’t even like surprises to begin with (most of my friends despise surprise parties). In order to avoid these unpleasantries, we’ve devised a list of seven ways to make your homebuying experience more enjoyable.

Lenders & Mortgage Brokers

There are so many lending options available to you, but if you’re like a majority of prospective buyers you might settle for one option. This could be a fatal first step, causing you to lose thousands of dollars in the process. Instead, a great approach would be to talk to multiple lenders (at least three) in addition to consulting a mortgage broker. You’ll want to have a solid basis for a comparison. Am I getting a good deal? Is this the lowest possible rate for my present situation (where I find myself in life, credit score, etc.)?

Compare lender fees, customer service, loan terms, rates and response times. The more you shop around, the more you’ll improve your chances of achieving some financial freedom. Certainly tap the bank you do all or most of your business with, but don’t solely rely on them.

Before you begin actively searching for homes in the marketplace, make sure you get pre-approved by a reputable lender. Don’t make the mistake of looking at properties before taking this first step into a much larger world. In competitive niche markets, you could forfeit your chance of landing your choice home if you aren’t pre-approved. This will also prevent you from gushing over a home you simply cannot afford.

Affordability Can Be An Issue Too

Ah yes, you don’t want to bite off more than you can chew either. In many markets throughout the country, the supply is dwindling, but buyers are itching for more affordable homes. It’s in these markets where we discover rising home prices and the challenges that come along with them.

7 Mistakes Homebuyers Must Avoid

If there’s one thing to take away from this article, it’s this: Don’t be swept away by your emotions, don’t let them completely engulf you, making your decisions for you. Rather, create a budget and stick with it. It should contain a list of your monthly expenses: Automobile, student loans, credit cards, groceries, health insurance, child care, investments, etc. Examine your costs and be realistic about what you can actually afford. Be sure to give yourself some wiggle room too.

Remember, by overspending, you could be putting yourself at risk for losing your home in the future should you encounter financial trouble. Overspending can often be tied to emotional needs rather than logical, unhasty decisions. Don’t lust after something that’s outside your price range nor feel the need to borrow the full amount of your pre-approval. Make an offer if you’re serious about buying a home, but do it after much reflection and preparation.

Overpaying For A Home

As stated above, overextending on a home purchase is usually not in a buyer’s best interest. I speak from experience on this. The first home I purchased, I reached to get it and seven years later when I needed to sell it, I found myself in a less than ideal situation. Stay focused on purchasing a home for a good price rather than on what you can spend.

Though there’s no way to absolutely guarantee you’ll make the best choice – markets do change as time goes by – discover the market value of a property before you’re willing to make an offer on such a large investment. Don’t rely on what the rateable or government value of a home would be. These valuations often fail to reflect what the home is actually worth in today’s market. You’ll want to make sure your offer to purchase is based on comparable homes that have already sold in recent months.

REALTORS® & Other Professionals

Don’t follow the path to home discovery alone! Each homebuyer should have buyer’s representation. This is important in order to protect your own interests or you could find other agents, who are actually working for the seller and not your interests, coaching you. REALTORS® educated buyers about the process. They are the “go to” person before and after a transaction even occurs. They can give you insights into who to consult, the surrounding communities/neighborhoods, if attorney representation is advisable and the like. Find a real estate professional who’s a good match for your personality and your schedule.

An experience REALTOR® can put you at ease. This can’t be overstated. They point many homebuyers in the right direction. They have connections, knowledge and course correction that’s needed in the present landscape. When it’s time to buy a property they link you with the right people as well. Your real estate professional can connect you with reputable inspectors and other service providers who can give you a clearer picture of what you’re facing ahead. What’s the condition of the home? What type of repairs are needed? A thorough inspection will help you avoid a money pit, so don’t neglect to inspect.

Credit Constraints

Before embarking on your quest for a new home, it’s important to give yourself maximum buying power, if time allows. Be patient, pay down some of your debt and save money. Believe it or not, boosting your credit score and/or saving enough for a significant down payment can take months or even years to accomplish. Here are some things to keep in mind prior to getting pre-approved with a bank:

  • Have three to six months of living expenses saved in an emergency fund
  • Don’t drain your savings to put a down payment on a home nor to pay the closing costs associated with settlement
  • Stay level-headed and stick to your budget – meet with a financial planner, if necessary

When the time’s right, get pre-approved and keep the status quo in your finances through settlement. Don’t make your next significant purchase until you’ve closed on your home. Refrain from opening new lines of credit, closing existing accounts or taking on new loans. These would potentially impact your credit score and jeopardize your purchasing power. Furthermore, a buyer’s actions could cause the deal to go south and as a result he/she might be in jeopardy of losing his/her earnest money deposit.

Location, Bones, Location

As you and your agent begin to search for a home that’s perfectly suited to your needs, it’s important to keep an open mind, while not be overly picky with your selections. It may seem like a part-time job, attaining the right fit for you and your family, after all it can be vital to your lifestyle and development. Seek a home you can add value to.

7 Mistakes Homebuyers Must Avoid

When your search is underway, it may be difficult to ignore some of the cosmetic details, but that’s exactly how you may want to approach it to maintain sanity. A homebuyer should grasp the difference between things that can be changed relatively easily (like simple remodeling) versus things which are very expensive or near impossible to correct. Don’t let the physical imperfections turn you off. On the other hand, it’s important to perceive those things like your home’s yard/lot size or location, which cannot be changed. If you fixate on the home over its neighborhood or school district, you could end up loving the home, but hating where you live.

Ground yourself and know your limits. If your funds are tight, you may need to be willing to reside on a busy road, deal with a dated home or put some sweat equity into it. Prospective homebuyers should also do their research. With the aid of your REALTORS®, investigate the crime statistics and school ratings of areas where you’re interest lies. Gauge your commuting time to and from work. Visit the neighborhood where you’re thinking about moving to at different times of the day to understand traffic patterns and its vibe. Don’t look for perfection in a home, it rarely exists. In fact, in doing so, it could lead you to overpay for one along with grossly limiting your search.

Ownership’s Hidden Costs

Before you embark on this exciting adventure toward homeownership, don’t overlook the hidden costs, especially if you’re a first-time homebuyer. Have you considered the other expenses? You may need to pay for property taxes, homeowners insurance, flood insurance, mortgage insurance (PMI), repairs and maintenance costs, utilities, homeowners association dues (HOA), etc.

Set aside 2% to 3% of the home’s value each year to cover costs associated with maintenance and repairs. Don’t underestimate this buffer. In order to maintain your home, you’ll need to have this set aside. For instance, if your home has a market value of $250,000 and wasn’t recently built, then each year you should have $5,000 to $7,500 set aside for upkeep and repairs.

 

I know this information can be a little overwhelming for some thinking about buying a home, but it’s paramount to keep these potential pitfalls in mind. Again, focus on your goals and discuss this further with your real estate professional. How important is it for you to be a homeowner now than continue to rent and be one in the future? This is a question you’ll inevitably need to ask yourself.

We hope you enjoyed this article. For more helpful homebuyer information as well as our FAQs, click here. We always welcome your feedback!