It’s hard to overstate the importance of credit scores when it comes to buying a home. Along with your down payment, your credit score is a deciding factor of getting approved and securing a low interest rate.
Credit can be complicated. And, if you want to buy a home in the near future, it can seem daunting to try and increase your score while saving for a down payment.
However, it is possible to significantly increase your score in the months leading up to applying for a loan.
In today’s post, we’re going to talk about some ways to give your credit score a quick boost so that you can secure the best rate on your mortgage.
Should I focus on increasing my score or save for a down payment?
If you’re planning on buying a home, you might be faced with a difficult decision: to pay off old debt or to save a larger down payment.
As a general rule, it’s better to pay off smaller loans and debt before taking out larger loans. If you have multiple loans that you’re paying off that are around the same balance, focus on whichever one has the highest interest rate.
If you have low-interest loans that you can easily afford to continue paying while you save, then it’s often worth saving more for a down payment.
Remember that if you are able to save up 20% of your mortgage, you’ll be able to avoid paying PMI (private mortgage insurance). This will save you quite a bit over the span of your loan.
Starting with no credit
If you’ve avoided loans and credit cards thus far in your life but want to save for a home, you might run into the issue of not having a credit history.
To confront this issue, it’s often a good idea to open a credit card that has good rewards and use it for your everyday expenses like groceries. Then, set up the card to auto-pay the balance in full each month to avoid paying interest.
This method allows you to save money (you’d have to buy groceries and gas anyway) while building credit.
Correct credit report errors
Each of the main credit bureaus will have a slightly different method for calculating your credit score. Their information can also vary.
Each year, you’re entitled to one free report from each of the main bureaus. Take advantage of these free reports. They’re different from free credit checks that you can get from websites like Credit Karma because they’re much more detailed.
Go through the report line by line and make sure there aren’t any accounts you don’t recognize. It is not uncommon for people to find out that a scammer or even a family member has taken out a line of credit in their name.
Avoid opening several new accounts
Our final tip for boosting your credit score is to avoid opening up multiple accounts in the 6 months leading up to your mortgage application.
Opening multiple accounts is a red flag to lenders. It can show that you might be in a time of financial hardship and can temporarily lower your score.
If you intend to sell your home, it often pays to hire an expert home appraiser. With this professional at your disposal, you can learn about the true value of your house relative to the competition and map out your home selling journey accordingly.
Ultimately, there are many reasons to work with a home appraiser, and these include:
1. You can gain insights into the housing market.
During a home appraisal, a property appraiser will inspect your residence from top to bottom. Then, this appraiser will offer a report that includes a valuation of your home.
A home appraisal report includes insights beyond the condition and age of your house. In fact, a home appraiser will look at the prices of similar houses in your area and evaluate your home in relation to comparable residences. By doing so, a home appraiser can provide a report that may help you prep to enter a buyer's or seller's market.
2. You can identify potential home problems.
Let's face it – no homebuyer wants to purchase a house with cracked siding or a leaky roof. Fortunately, a home appraisal can help you identify and resolve any potential problems early in the home selling process.
Typically, a home appraiser will look at a house's roof, its heating and cooling system and other interior and exterior features. If the appraiser discovers any home problems, these issues will be defined in an appraisal report.
Use a home appraisal report to understand assorted home problems – you'll be glad you did. Thanks to this report, you can take the necessary steps to mitigate various home issues.
3. You can establish a "competitive" price for your house.
As a home seller, your goal is to maximize the value of your residence. A home appraisal can help you do just that, as this assessment enables a home seller to define a "competitive" home price, regardless of the current real estate market's conditions.
When it comes to selling a house, performing a housing market analysis may prove to be insufficient. However, after a home appraisal, a home seller can better understand how a residence ranks against the competition and price it appropriately.
Establishing a competitive price from day one is essential for a home seller. And with a home appraisal, a home seller can set a fair price for a residence, increasing the likelihood of a fast home sale.
Before you list your residence, you should consider the aforementioned reasons to work with a home appraiser. If you employ a home appraiser today, you can boost your chances of accelerating the home selling cycle and maximizing the value of your house.
Lastly, if you need help finding a home appraiser, you should consult with a real estate agent. This housing market professional can offer unbiased home appraiser recommendations and put you in touch with the best home appraisers in your area. Perhaps best of all, a real estate agent is happy to provide expert advice throughout the home selling journey to ensure that you can get the best possible results.
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