Patricia M. McCorry, JD, CRB, GRI's Blog
Credit plays an important role in your ability to secure a home loan and to qualify for a low-interest mortgage. However, many first-time homebuyers aren’t aren’t sure about the exact relationship between credit scores and mortgages.
This doesn’t come as much of a surprise considering the many factors that go into your credit score and into your lender’s decision to approve you for a mortgage. So, in this article, we’re going to cover three commonly asked questions that homebuyers have about credit scores and how they’re used by mortgage lenders to determine your eligibility for a home loan.
Will my credit score go down if I check my credit report?
If you’re thinking of buying a home in the near future, one of the first things you’ll want to do is check your credit. However, if you’ve heard that some credit inquiries briefly lower your credit score you might be hesitant to find out.
This common misconception stems from the fact that taking out new lines of credit results in a temporary decrease in your credit score. The difference between checking your credit and a credit inquiry is simple: a credit check you can access for free online through a service like Credit Karma, whereas a credit inquiry is performed by a lender or creditor with whom you’ve applied for credit.
In short, checking your credit score online won’t affect your score. In fact, the major credit bureaus are required to allow you to check your credit for free once per year.
Can I get a loan with low credit?
Increasing your credit score is a lengthy process that requires careful financial management. Many people who have had difficulties paying off bills, loans, and credit cards will have to rebuild their credit. Or, if you’re young and don’t have a diverse history of credit payments, you’ll be starting from scratch to build your score.
If you’re hoping to get an FHA (first-time homeowner loan), the lowest your score can be is 580. However, that doesn’t mean you should always take a loan with a low credit score. When you don’t have a good credit history, lenders will seek other ways to guarantees their investment. This comes in the form of higher interest rates or PMI (private mortgage insurance) which you’ll have to pay on top of your monthly home insurance and mortgage payments.
Will applying for a home loan affect my credit?
Simply stated, yes. However, applying for a loan or get preapproved is considered a credit inquiry and won’t leave any lasting negative on your credit score. Making several inquiries within a short period of time, however, can significantly lower your score, so choose your inquiries wisely. And, be sure to monitor your credit score on a monthly basis so you have an idea of where you stand along the road to applying for a home loan.
Entering the housing market may be difficult for a buyer. In many instances, buyers worry about paying too much for a house. On the other hand, the temptation to overspend on a house sometimes can be overwhelming for a homebuyer who is concerned about losing his or her dream residence to a rival buyer.
Fortunately, we're here to help you determine exactly what you can afford to pay for a house, thereby reducing the risk of spending too much on a residence.
Let's take a look at three tips to ensure a buyer can purchase a great house at the right price.
1. Get Pre-Approved for a Mortgage
A mortgage generally is a must-have for a homebuyer. If you get pre-approved for a mortgage, you can start searching for houses that fall within your financial limits.
To learn about your mortgage options, you should meet with a variety of banks and credit unions. These financial institutions employ friendly, knowledgeable mortgage specialists who can teach you about myriad mortgage options.
Also, don't hesitate to ask questions as you search for a mortgage. If you understand all of the mortgage options at your disposal, you can make an informed mortgage decision. Then, you'll be able to start pursuing houses with a budget in hand.
2. Assess the Housing Market
The real estate market frequently fluctuates. As such, you should look closely at housing market data to find out whether you're preparing to search for a house in a buyer's or seller's market.
Oftentimes, it helps to look at the prices of recently sold houses in your area. This will allow you to see how much sellers received for their homes, as well as how long these houses were available before they sold. That way, you can use this housing market data to narrow your price range and establish realistic expectations for your home search.
3. Consult with a Real Estate Agent
A real estate agent is a housing market expert. Therefore, a real estate agent can make it simple for you to pay the right price for your ideal house.
Typically, a real estate agent will want to meet with you before you start your home search. He or she then can learn about you and your homebuying goals and help you craft a homebuying budget. As a result, a real estate agent will allow you to refine your home search, ensuring you can check out high-quality houses at budget-friendly prices.
Let's not forget about the support that a real estate agent delivers throughout the homebuying journey, either. A real estate agent will set up home showings and keep you up to date about new houses that fall within your price range. And if you'd like to submit an offer on a house, a real estate agent will help you put together a competitive proposal as well.
Pay the right price for your dream house – use the aforementioned tips, and you can boost the likelihood of discovering the right home, at the right price.
Want to buy a house? If you plan ahead for the homebuying journey, you may be better equipped than ever before to reap the benefits of a seamless homebuying experience.
Now, let's take a look at three tips to help you prepare for the homebuying journey.
1. Figure Out Where You Want to Live
Do you prefer the hustle and bustle of the big city? Or, would you like to reside in a small town? Think about where you want to live, and you may be able to speed up the homebuying journey.
A homebuyer who narrows his or her search to houses in a set number of cities and towns may be able to quickly discover the ideal residence. Thus, if you know where you want to go, you can act fast to pursue your dream house. And once you find your dream home, it may be only a few weeks before you can finalize a home sale.
2. Obtain a Mortgage
A mortgage generally is a must-have for a homebuyer, regardless of where he or she decides to live. If you submit a mortgage application before you embark on the homebuying journey, you can enter the real estate market with a budget in hand.
Oftentimes, it won't take long to get pre-approved for a mortgage. You can meet with a variety of banks and credit unions, and these financial institutions can teach you about a wide array of mortgage options. Next, you can select a mortgage that satisfies your personal requirements.
When you meet with banks and credit unions, don't hesitate to ask plenty of questions, either. If you receive expert mortgage insights, you can make an informed mortgage decision that likely will serve you well for years to come.
3. Consult with a Real Estate Agent
Let's face it – pursuing a home should be a quick, easy process, but problems may arise that prevent you from buying your ideal residence. Thankfully, real estate agents are available in cities and towns nationwide, and these housing market professionals can help you make your homeownership dreams come true.
A real estate agent is a housing market expert who can teach you how to discover a terrific house at a budget-friendly price. This housing market professional can explain the differences between a buyer's and seller's market and help you map out a successful homebuying journey. That way, you may be able to improve your chances of acquiring a superb residence if you hire a reliable real estate agent.
In addition, a real estate agent will serve as your guide along the homebuying journey. He or she will keep you up to date about new residences that become available, set up home showings and help you submit homebuying proposals. And if you ever have homebuying concerns or questions, a real estate agent is available to respond to them.
Achieve the best-possible results during the homebuying journey – use the aforementioned tips, and you can plan ahead to acquire your ideal residence.
After you complete a home showing, you may face a dilemma. If you like a house following a showing, you may want to set up a follow-up showing or submit an offer to purchase. Or, if you are dissatisfied with the results of a home showing, you may want to continue your house search.
It helps to know what to expect after you attend a house showing. Because if you know what to do following a showing, you may be able to speed up the process of going from homebuyer to homeowner.
Now, let's take a look at three tips to help you make the best-possible decision about a house following a showing.
1. Assess the Pros and Cons of a House
Performing a comprehensive home analysis is a must after a showing. That way, you can weigh the pros and cons of a residence and decide whether a house is right for you.
Think about how you felt as you walked through each room of a house. If you can envision yourself as the owner of a home, you may want to move sooner rather than later to submit an offer to purchase.
Conversely, if you find a house is in need of major repairs or simply does not suit your lifestyle, you should not hesitate to continue your house search. With a diligent approach to home evaluations, you should have no trouble discovering your dream residence in the foreseeable future.
2. Consider the Next Step in Your Homebuying Journey
When it comes to finding the perfect residence, it helps to plan ahead as much as possible. And if you have a plan in place for what to do after a home showing, you'll be better equipped than ever before to prepare for the worst-case scenarios.
For example, a home seller could accept a rival buyer's offer to purchase before you have time to consider your options following a showing. But if you have a backup plan in place, you can move quickly to continue your homebuying journey, regardless of how a showing pans out.
3. Collaborate with a Real Estate Agent
If you are unsure about the best course of action at a home showing's conclusion, you may want to consult with a real estate agent. This will enable you to gain expert insights into the housing market and make an informed decision about how to proceed with a particular residence.
A real estate agent is happy to teach you about all aspects of the housing market. Following a home showing, a real estate agent can meet with you and help you review all of the options at your disposal. And if you decide to submit an offer to purchase a house, a real estate agent will make it easy to put together a competitive homebuying proposal.
There is no need to worry about what to do after a house showing. Use the aforementioned tips, and you can boost the likelihood of making the best-possible decision following a home showing.
Once you have found the home that you want to live in, put in the offer, and start the process of closing on a home, you may feel like you’re “home free.” The hard part may technically be over, but there’s one more important thing that you need to think about before you get the keys to your place: Closing costs.
A few days before you head to sign all of your paperwork to close on the home, your lender will send you a detailed report of different closing costs that you need to pay upon the settlement of the property.
Closing Costs Defined
Closing costs are what you pay to the lender and third parties. These are due at the time of closing on the property and must be paid up front. You should estimate that your closing costs will be between 2 and 5 percent of the purchase price of the home.
Everything Included In Closing Costs
Closing costs cover both one-time and recurring fees that are a part of your home purchase. The one-time fees are things that are generally associated with buying the home. These would include attorneys fees, lender fees, home inspection fees, document prep fees, underwriting fees, credit report fees, and realtor fees. You’ll also need a bank issued check for your down payment at this time.
At closing, an escrow account will be set up. This is like a forced savings account that will be drawn from to cover things like taxes, insurance, loan interest, and title insurance. These are all very important costs that are a part of buying a home.
Do Your Homework Ahead Of Time
The best way to deal with closing costs is to be prepared ahead of time. Talk to your lender in order to get an estimate of the closing costs. From there, you’ll need to decide if you need to finance your closing costs or simply pay them up front. There are advantages to both approaches. Sometimes, lenders will look at you as less favorable if you need to finance all of your closing costs. It all depends on the terms of your loan. This is why research is vital.
Compare Rates And Lenders
It’s important not to go with the first lender you talk to. Get some recommendations from your realtor and friends to see who might be a good fit for you. Every lender specializes in something different, so you want to be sure that who you chose is a good fit for you.
The most important thing that you can do with closing costs and the financing of your home is to get educated!