Melissa Kaspern's Blog
One of the most important things to check once you decide to start the home-buying process is your credit score. The three major credit bureaus keep track of how you pay for your credit and how much credit you have. Your score fluctuates, sometimes daily, depending on how much you owe and how many accounts you have. Applying for credit also affects your score. It will usually drop by 2 points every time you apply for a loan or credit card, even if you don’t get the credit.
Applying for a Mortgage
When you apply for a mortgage, the lender pulls your credit score from all three credit bureaus. The lender will advise you whether it has a loan program that will accept your credit score. Some loan programs work with those who have scores as low as 520. Because the credit bureaus deduct points every time you apply, it’s better to call lenders and ask them if they have programs for lower credit scores—if your score is low.
Credit Scores and Interest Rates
Because lenders interpret your credit scores as the inability to manage your credit, they deem the risk of loaning you money quite high. The higher the risk, the higher your interest rate will be. If you have a credit score of 750, you might get a lower interest rate, depending on the current going rate. However, for the same loan, if you have a credit score of 540, you will pay quite a bit more interest. While rates depend on the bank, an example would be that you could pay 9 percent instead of 4 percent if the going rates are at 4 percent.
Changing Your Credit Situation
Before you even start looking for a house, pull your credit from all three major credit bureaus. Look for incorrect data. Dispute the data to correct it. For example, if you see a 90-day late on a credit card that you did not apply for or use, dispute that card to take it off your credit report. It is always a good idea if you pull your credit at least every three months to check for identity theft and incorrect data.
If your credit score is low because you ran into hard times and everything is correct, you could buy down your interest rate and put a larger down payment down on the loan. While you are saving up for the down payment, make sure you pay your bills on time to better your credit score. Try to save up 25 or 30 percent instead of the 20 percent most lenders require. Saving up a few thousand extra dollars also allows you to buy points, which drops your interest rate. A higher down payment also decreases the lender’s risk and might get you a lower interest rate.
The cost of points is usually 1 percent of the total loan. Thus, 1 point on a $100,000 mortgage would cost you $1,000. It could buy you a quarter of a percent interest rate. Instead of an 8 percent interest rate, you would have a 7.75 percent interest rate.
Researching loan programs and making sure your credit is accurate helps you determine whether you want to start the house-hunting process now or save for a higher down payment and wait for your credit score to increase.
Owning a home can be an amazing experience. But interest from your mortgage accumulates over time, leaving you to seemingly pay an arm and a leg to finance your home. But while you may think that paying off your mortgage early is a great idea, that isn’t always the case.
You May Have Other Debt
Paying off your mortgage early can save you on interest costs, but you more than likely have other debt to deal with. If you have other debts — like car loans, student loans or credit card debt — then these should be paid off first. Try to focus on your debts with higher interest rates; these tend to be associated with credit cards. After you’ve paid those debts off, then moving on to pay off your mortgage could be a good choice.
You Don’t Want to Go Broke
Paying off your mortgage may sound great and all, but you must consider all of your expenses, including possible emergencies. Saving on interest is very tempting, but it shouldn’t come at the expense of your emergency fund. You never know when something serious will happen, so do your best to set aside some cash. If you have hefty savings and all of your expenses are accounted for every month, then you can move on to paying off your mortgage early.
Consider Your Future
Many people try to pay as much as they can towards their mortgage, only to find out that they used up all of their money. While they have some big expenses and big life changes that cost money, now they have to save up in order to cover those costs. That being said, it’s best to think about your future before paying more towards your mortgage. Are you planning on having kids? Thinking of going back to school? With how frequent life changes, you never know when you could use money down the road. While it might seem like a great plan to throw money at your mortgage payment, think about your life goals and how your finances fit in that equation.
It Can Be Beneficial
Although we’ve made some points above that suggest that you shouldn’t pay off your mortgage early, it can still be very beneficial to do so. Let’s say your household is doing very well with finances and money is pouring in quickly. If your other debts and finances are taken care of, then paying off your mortgage early can help you save on interest; the larger amount you pay, the more you’ll save on interest. However, this can be a tough choice. Be sure to consider the points mentioned above before paying this loan off early.
If you’re in the market to buy a home, you’re probably learning many new vocabulary words. Pre-approved and pre-qualified are some buzz words that you’ll need to know. There’s a big difference in the two and how each can help you in the home buying process, so you’ll want to educate yourself. With the proper preparation and knowledge, the home buying process will be much easier for you.
This is actually the initial step that you should take in the home buying process. Being pre-qualified allows your lender to get some key information from you. Make no mistake that getting pre-qualified is not the same thing as getting pre-approved.
The qualification process allows you to understand how much house you’ll be able to afford. Your lender will look at your income, assets, and general financial picture. There’s not a whole lot of information that your lender actually needs to get you pre-qualified. Many buyers make the mistake of interchanging the words qualified and approval. They think that once they have been pre-qualified, they have been approved for a certain amount as well. Since the pre-qualification process isn’t as in-depth, you could be “qualified” to buy a home that you actually can’t afford once you dig a bit deeper into your financial situation.
Getting pre-approved requires a bit more work on your part. You’ll need to provide your lender with a host of information including income statements, bank account statements, assets, and more. Your lender will take a look at your credit history and credit score. All of these numbers will go into a formula and help your lender determine a safe amount of money that you’ll be able to borrow for a house. Things like your credit score and credit history will have an impact on the type of interest rate that you’ll get for the home. The better your credit score, the better the interest rate will be that you’re offered. Being pre-approved will also be a big help to you when you decide to put an offer in on a home since you’ll be seen as a buyer who is serious and dependable.
Things To Think About
Although getting pre-qualified is fairly simple, it’s a good step to take to understand your finances and the home buying process. Don’t take the pre-qualification numbers as set in stone, just simply use them as a guide.
Do some investigating on your own before you reach the pre-approval stage. Look at your income, debts, and expenses. See if there is anything that can be paid down before you take the leap to the next step. Check your credit report and be sure that there aren’t any errors on the report that need to be remedied. Finally, look at your credit score and see if there’s anything that you can do better such as make more consistent on-time payments or pay down debt for a more desirable debt-to-income ratio.
If you’re in the market for a new home, chances are you’ve been evaluating your finances. As a first-time homebuyer, there are programs in place to help with the down payment. According to the December 2019 Realtor Index Confidence Survey, first-time homebuyers accounted for 31% of all sales, and 77% put down less than 20%.
Once you’ve worked with a mortgage lender to get a competitive rate, these programs may help with getting into your dream home:
Are you a veteran or active duty? If so, you won’t need to look far. This program helps individuals get a home with no down payment. It’s backed by the government and has a series of requirements to meet. There are also Adapted Housing Grants, which help purchase a home adapted for a service-related disability, or if upgrades need to be done to the home to make if accessible.
If you’re looking in a rural area, this loan by the Department of Agriculture may be the one for you. There is no down payment to participate, but there are income requirements. When hearing the word rural, you may think it’s totally country but there are tons of “rural” areas that are well populated.
This program from the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) lists eligible properties by state and is not limited to first-time homebuyers. The property must be in an area marked for revitalization and is only open to certain professions like law enforcement officers, firefighters, emergency medical technicians and teachers. If approved, you must live in the property for at least 36 months and receive up to 50% off the list price of the home.Local First-Time Homebuyers Grants
Many municipalities offer funds from their own first-time homebuyer programs. There are certain requirements to meet, such as requiring the owner live in the home for a short period of time. In many cases, the grant is forgivable over a period of time. There are also block grants through Congressional districts, which are distributed through local programs.
A mortgage broker will be able to recommend additional programs you may qualify for based on the area you are attempting to purchase in. Homeownership doesn’t have to be complicated – it may just take a little work to get what you want and the assistance you need. Call a realtor and mortgage broker to get started on the process today.
Perhaps one of the most challenging things about buying a home is saving for the downpayment. Collecting such a large sum of money can be difficult. The truth is that most buyers actually think that they need more than they actually do to buy a home. The downpayment doesn’t need to be a barrier to your path to homeownership. There are so many programs that offer low and even no down payment home loans. Read on to learn more about down payments and programs that can help you.
First, let’s look at what a down payment is and how it can help you. If you put 10% down on a $200,000 home that’s $20,000. The downpayment minus the purchase price of the home is $180,000, and that's how much your home loan will be. The more money you can put down on the house, the lower your home loan will be and the lower your monthly mortgage payments will be. A large down payment can indeed save you in the long term. If you’re looking to move into a home sooner rather than later, saving a considerable sum isn’t always possible.
Low Downpayment Mortgages
You need to decide what type of home loan you need by the amount of downpayment you’re willing and able to put down. Some benefits go along with making a down payment, but there are some negatives.
By making a substantial down payment you may despite your savings, leaving little money for emergencies. Your mortgage rate may not be affected by a large downpayment either. It can be hard to decide what type of loan to get and just how much you really can afford.
FHA loans are among the most popular type of home loans. The downpayment that’s required is just 3.5%. The requirements are simple, and you don’t have to be a first-time homebuyer to qualify.
The drawback to an FHA loan is that you cannot cancel the monthly mortgage insurance that comes along with it unless you refinance the home. Traditional mortgage insurance is canceled when you have built up 20% equity in the house, but this isn’t the case with FHA loans.
Another positive about FHA loans is that your credit score doesn’t have to be stellar in order for you to qualify. Some lenders approve FHA loans with credit scores as low as 580.
VA Home Loans
Buyers who have current or former military service status can qualify for this zero down mortgage. These loans are benefits to veterans and current members of the Armed Forces. While no downpayment is required, buyers may put down any amount they wish. The only requirements are that buyers be members of the military either currently serving for 90 days or two years of active duty service if not an active member.
The above options are great for those who can’t afford or don’t wish to put down large down payments but still hope to be homeowners.