Robert Ross' Blog
Purchasing a home is a life-changing decision, and as such, should not be taken lightly. Fortunately, there are lots of things you can do to prepare for the homebuying journey, such as:
1. Determine Where You Want to Live
There is no shortage of high-quality houses available across the United States. Now, you just need to determine where you want to reside, and you can hone your house search accordingly.
Think about your long-term plans as you consider where you want to live. For instance, if you enjoy life in the big city, you may want to search for houses in or near the city of your choice. On the other hand, if you want to start a family in the near future, you may want to explore residences near parks and other family-friendly attractions.
Ultimately, it helps to narrow your home search to a few cities and towns. Because if you know where you want to live, you can quickly navigate the homebuying journey.
2. Establish a Budget
A budget is a must-have for any homebuyer, at any time. If you know how much you can spend on a house, you can search for residences that fall within your price range.
Oftentimes, it helps to meet with banks and credit unions before you launch a home search. These financial institutions can teach you about different types of mortgages. Then, you can select a mortgage that suits you perfectly.
Don't forget about home inspection, closing and other property buying fees, either. If you account for these property buying costs, you can ensure you have the necessary funds available to cover them.
3. Consult with a Real Estate Agent
A real estate agent is a difference-maker for a homebuyer. He or she is happy to teach a homebuyer about the ins and outs of the real estate market. As a result, a real estate agent will help you become a homebuying expert.
Typically, a real estate agent offers recommendations and insights throughout the homebuying journey. He or she first will learn about you and help you establish homebuying expectations. Next, a real estate agent will help you kick off a search for homes in your preferred cities and towns. When you find your dream residence, a real estate agent will help you craft a competitive offer to purchase this home. And if your offer to purchase is approved, a real estate agent will help you navigate the final stages of the homebuying journey.
Furthermore, a real estate agent can provide assistance any time a homebuyer has concerns or questions. A real estate agent strives to help you make informed homebuying decisions. Thus, he or she will do whatever it takes to educate you about the homebuying cycle and ensure you are ready to find and buy your ideal residence.
Simplify the process of finding your dream home – use the aforementioned tips, and you can prep for the homebuying journey.
Your credit score is a fundamental component of a mortgage lender’s decision to approve you for a loan. It can also affect the interest rate and loan amount you can secure.
Along with your income history and down payment, a solid credit score is one of the three most important things you’ll need when it comes to buying a home.
Credit scores themselves, however, can be a complicated business. And finding out what score you need to buy a home and how to achieve that score can also be a complex topic.
So, in this post we’re going to break down some credit score basics as they relate to buying a home.
Types of credit scores
You may have heard of the three main credit bureaus, TransUnion, Experian, and Equifax. Each of these bureaus keeps a detailed credit history for everyone in America (except for those who have yet to open a line of credit or take out a loan).
Since each credit bureau may have slightly different information available data to draw from, your credit scores from each company may vary.
However, when it comes to buying a home, most lenders use a standard scoring model called a FICO score to ensure that all mortgage applicants are treated fairly when they seek a loan.
Things are further complicated by the fact that there are several different FICO scoring models designed for different types of credit. So, if you’ve seen your FICO score when applying for an auto loan, it may be a different score than you will see when applying for a mortgage.
Build credit; raise your credit score
All of the types of credit scores and scoring models can be confusing. But what you mostly need to worry about is how to boost your score.
Your credit score will be based on five main factors:
Making on-time payments
The percentage of available credit (not maxing out your cards)
Having diverse types of credit (auto loans, student loans, credit cards, etc.)
Not opening new lines of credit frequently (a red flag that you’re struggling financially)
The length of your credit history, or how long you’ve been consistently paying your bills
What score do you need to buy a home?
There are several different mortgage types available for buyers. First-time homeowners, veterans, people seeking to buy a home in a rural area, and any other number of circumstances can help you qualify for mortgages even if you have a low credit score.
A general rule, however, is that it’s always better to apply for a mortgage with a high credit score to help you secure the best possible interest rate.
Some programs do have minimum credit scores that they will accept for a mortgage. FHA loans are one common example. The Federal Housing Authority guarantees loans for people across the country who are hoping to buy their first home (or who haven’t owned a home in the last three years). Their guarantee is what enables lenders to safely approve mortgages for borrowers with low credit scores. The current requirement for an FHA loan is a credit score of 580 or higher for a mortgage with a 3.5% down payment. You can secure an FHA loan with a lower credit score, but you’ll have to make a larger down payment.
There are several other options available for hopeful homeowners when it comes to mortgages. But, if you aren’t planning on moving in the next few months and your credit score could use some work, now is the time to start focusing on building credit.
Before you launch a home search, it helps to prepare for the property buying journey as much as possible. Fortunately, there are many things you can do to get ready to find your dream house.
Now, let's take a look at three tips to help you prep for a home search.
1. Establish Homebuying Criteria
If you know you want to buy a home, it generally is a good idea to define your ideal residence as well. That way, you can streamline your house search.
Consider where you want to reside. For example, if you work in the city, you may want to focus on houses in or near the city itself. On the other hand, if you plan to return to school, you may want to search for a home near top colleges and universities.
Think about what features you want in your ideal home, too. If you have always wanted to own a home that boasts a luxurious outdoor swimming pool, for instance, you can map out your home search accordingly. Or, if you want to purchase a residence that features a state-of-the-art kitchen, you can search for a home that offers this amenity.
2. Get Pre-Approved for a Mortgage
A mortgage typically is a must-have, regardless of where and when you search for a home. And if you enter the housing market with a mortgage at your disposal, you will know precisely how much you can spend on a residence.
Getting pre-approved for a mortgage can be simple. If you meet with banks and credit unions in your area, you can review your options and select a mortgage that complements your finances.
If you have concerns about home financing, don't hesitate to ask questions. Banks and credit unions employ courteous, diligent mortgage specialists who can respond to your home financing queries. As such, you can work with these specialists to gain the home financing insights you need to make the best-possible mortgage decision.
3. Hire a Real Estate Agent
As you get set to conduct a home search, there is no need to work alone. If you hire a real estate agent, you can collaborate with a homebuying expert who can take the guesswork out of finding and purchasing a house.
A real estate agent is happy to provide guidance throughout the homebuying journey. He or she can offer tips and recommendations to ensure you can find a terrific home at a price that matches your budget. Plus, a real estate agent will simplify the process of setting up home showings. Perhaps best of all, if you are uncertain about whether to submit an offer to purchase a home, a real estate agent is ready to provide insights to help you analyze all of your options.
Dedicate time and resources to prepare for the homebuying journey. By doing so, you can enter the housing market with the insights you need to succeed.
Have you ever made a move across the country? While this is a huge step, it can be extremely rewarding. Whether you’re moving for a job or you just want a fresh start, the whole process can be stressful and very expensive. However, there are some tips to consider that can help to ease the stress and simplify the process.
Timing is Key
While you may think that you can move at any time, you should be strategic on when you move—if you want to save the most money. Holidays, weekends and at the end of the month are the busiest — and most expensive — times to move, so choose wisely in this regard. To score the best savings, try to move during the week and before the month of May or after the month of September. These are the times when moving is extremely common, so the moving industry will ramp up costs during these times. You want to also ensure that you are 100% ready by the time of your move. Try to think about everything that needs to be done, then set a time for your departure.
Lighten Your Load
When preparing for your cross-country move, it’s also very beneficial to get rid of junk that you don’t need. Consider your necessities and throw away things that you never use. This step can be the deciding factor between renting a truck or taking your own car across the country. Renting a vehicle for a long-distance move can cost over $1,000, so it’s important to cut costs if possible. Be sure to go through boxes, throw away junk, and compact your belongings as much as possible.
Pack Your Own Food
Driving across the states for your move can take days. And if you’re driving a moving truck with all of your belongings, then this journey can take even longer. That being said, you’ll need to make eating and sleeping arrangements. Unfortunately, these expenses can really add up quickly, especially since you’ll need money for multiple meals and multiple nights on the road. Therefore, to save a little cash, be sure to pack food for the drive. Not only can this help you save as you’re adventuring from state to state, but it can also help you save on time. Rather than stopping every few hours to get a quick bite, you can conveniently eat while you drive or pull off the road for a few minutes.
Moving across the country can take a toll emotionally, mentally and physically. And if you’re doing it alone, this journey can be even more stressful. But by focusing on the three tips mentioned above, you can rest easy knowing that you’re well-prepared for this life-changing adventure.
The biggest area of your life that you need to understand before you buy a house is your own finances. Before you know what kind of house you can buy, you’ll need to understand your own buying power. While things like square footage, how many bedrooms you need, and finding the right neighborhood are important, you can’t go very far without some type of financing. While understanding how much you can spend on a property is one of the more serious parts of buying a home, it’s something that you’ll want to do. Knowing what you can spend on a home is a step to helping you land a home you love. If you understand your own numbers, you’ll know the chances that you have of an offer being accepted on a place you love.
The Elements Of Your Buying Power
Your Credit Score
This little three digit number has a lot of meaning behind it. This is the most basic piece of information that lenders use to determine your loan worthiness. The factors that influence your credit score include:
- Payment history
- How much you owe
- Length of your credit history
- Mix of credit accounts
- How much new credit you have opened
A low credit score is somewhere under 620. Having a score this low doesn't necessarily mean that you’ll be denied for a loan, but the type and amount of the loan you’re offered can be impacted. You’ll also face higher interest rates because of a low credit score. This means your mortgage could be considerably more expensive than if you had a higher credit score.
The 20 percent down as a rule of thumb actually offers many benefits to your buying power. This means that you’ll need 20% down of the purchase price of the home in cash. If you put this amount of money (or even more) down on a home, it eliminates the need for you to have to buy PMI (Private Mortgage Insurance). You’ll even be able to negotiate a lower interest rate. A large down payment may be especially helpful in competitive markets where there is a lot of buyer competition.
How Your Financial Picture Appears
Your assets and your debt-to-income ratio are also important factors in your financial picture that you present to the lender. Basically, all of these numbers let both the lender and the seller see how committed you are to buying a home. It is one of the biggest financial undertakings of your entire life. If you can’t show financial responsibility, then it may be a bit difficult for lenders to see that you’ll actually pay your loan back in a timely manner.
The better all of your financial numbers are, the more buying power that you’ll have. If your numbers are good, you’ll be able to afford more house. While it may not be the most exciting thing to look over all of your financial numbers, it’s a vital step in the process of your journey to home ownership.