Colleen Griffin - RE/MAX Vision



Posted by Colleen Griffin on 2/4/2019

Your credit score is a fundamental component of a mortgage lenderís 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 youíll 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 weíre 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 youíve 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:

  1. Making on-time payments

  2. The percentage of available credit (not maxing out your cards)

  3. Having diverse types of credit (auto loans, student loans, credit cards, etc.)

  4. Not opening new lines of credit frequently (a red flag that youíre struggling financially)

  5. The length of your credit history, or how long youíve 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 itís 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 havenít 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 youíll have to make a larger down payment.


There are several other options available for hopeful homeowners when it comes to mortgages. But, if you arenít 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.





Posted by Colleen Griffin on 12/31/2018

Before you even set out to buy a home, you may think that you need to look at a magic number of homes in order to find the house thatís right for you. Thereís always a fear among buyers that they didnít look at enough homes before settling on one. The number of homes that you look at is up to you. There is no magic number that will dictate finding the perfect home. The most important thing is to trust your own intuition. In A sellerís market, you also may not have much choice. When inventory is low, if you find a home you love, youíll need to move to make an offer on it! 


The Average Buyer


People looking at condos take between 1 and 3 months to find the property thatís right for them. Those looking for single family homes tend to take a bit longer- between 3 and 6 months to find a home. Buying a traditional house seems to spark more questions and more uncertainty, which leads buyers to take their time to find what theyíre looking for.


Know Where You Want To Live


Before you start your home search, you should have a good idea of where you want to live. Have a list of cities, towns, and neighborhoods narrowed down to make your search a bit easier from the start. Take a ride around potential neighborhoods and get a feel for them. See the stores, restaurants, and nearby parks to really understand the area. 


Match Your Lifestyles


Where you choose to live has a lot to do with your lifestyle. Think of the following:


  • Where your friends live
  • Where your family lives
  • Where you work
  • What you do for fun


Whatever you love and whatever you love to do should be a factor in your home search. If you love the beach, you donít want to be a three hour drive away if you can help it. You also donít want a 2-hour commute to work. Find the balance to make your life happier in the new space you choose.      


Make A List


It sounds simple, but making a list of what you must have, what youíd like, and what would be a bonus can really help you in your home search. This holds true whether you look at 2 homes or 50 homes. The number of homes that you look at isnít as important as your needs and wants. Buying a home is a huge investment and you need to be happy with your decision. While itís not completely advisable to buy the first house that you see, if you have a good idea of what you want in a tough market, itís best to put an offer in.





Posted by Colleen Griffin on 12/24/2018

Ready to enter the real estate market for the first time? As a first-time homebuyer, you may encounter many challenges as you kick off your search for the perfect house. However, property buyers who understand these challenges will be better equipped than others to overcome such difficulties quickly and effortlessly.

Now, let's take a look at three common challenges that first-time homebuyers may face:

1. You don't know what to look for in a house.

You know you want to own a house, but how do you define your "dream" residence? Ultimately, you'll want to consider what you'd like to find in your perfect house so you can map out your real estate search accordingly.

Creating a checklist of things you'd like to have in your dream home usually represents a great starting point for first-time homebuyers. This checklist should include both "must-haves" and "wants" and can help you narrow your search for the ideal residence.

2. You aren't sure how much money you have available to purchase a home.

How much can you spend to acquire a residence? Without a budget, you may struggle to begin your real estate search.

Lucky for you, many banks and credit unions make it simple to get pre-approved for a mortgage.

Set up meetings with a few lenders in your city or town Ė you'll be glad you did. These lenders can help you assess your current financial situation, outline all of your mortgage options and ensure you can gain pre-approval for a mortgage.

With a mortgage in hand, you may be better equipped than other homebuyers to secure your ideal residence. This mortgage will help you determine exactly how much you can spend on a home. Plus, getting pre-approved for a mortgage can help you avoid the temptation to spend beyond your financial means to acquire your dream house.

3. You don't know what it takes to go from homebuyer to homeowner.

The homebuying process can be long and complicated, especially if you have no idea about what to expect from it. Fortunately, real estate agents are available to help you take the guesswork out of going from homebuyer to homeowner.

A real estate agent is a housing market professional who is happy to share his or her insights with you. He or she will respond to your homebuying concerns and queries and teach you about all stages of the homebuying cycle.

Furthermore, a real estate agent will set up home showings, keep you up to date about new houses as they become available and negotiate with property sellers on your behalf. This housing market professional will even go above and beyond the call of duty to guarantee you can purchase a home that you'll be able to enjoy for years to come.

When it comes to buying a home for the first time, there is no need to navigate the homebuying journey alone. Instead, collaborate with a real estate agent, and you can accelerate the process of acquiring a top-notch house at a budget-friendly price.





Posted by Colleen Griffin on 12/3/2018

While buying a home is an exciting time, many buyers actually regret their home purchase. One of the biggest regrets that people have is the size of the house they purchased. People either pick a home thatís too large or too small. It may be hard to imagine that you can make a mistake on the size of the home that your purchase. You go into the home buying process knowing how many bedrooms you need and what type of home you might like. Once you begin living in the house, you could find a different story. You may not have enough space for all of your familyís belongings. On the flip side, you could find the amount of space in your home as overwhelming. 

Buying a home isnít like buying most other things. You canít easily return it, and thereís quite a bit of an upfront investment that must be made in order to make the purchase. Itís not simple to make a change if you buy the wrong house. The wrong purchase could set you back in making a move for years to come. 

Shop Smart

The best thing to do when shopping for a home is not only to see the home in its current state but what type of potential the house has. Can you add on to the home? Would you be able to make use of all the space the home has? Is there enough storage in the house? Are there ways to quickly add storage? These are a lot of things to consider when shopping for a home but theyíre all important questions. Once you move into the home, other than doing a complete overhaul, you may be out of options to improve it without looking for these areas. Of course, the ideal situation is to find a home that already has everything youíre looking for in it.      

Donít Buy Until Youíre Ready

Another mistake that people make is they try to go from renting to owning before theyíre ready. Living in an apartment or rental allows for a bunch of advantages that owning a home may not afford you. Owning a home takes commitment, and some people just arenít ready. Just because itís widely known knowledge that buying a home is a smart financial decision, doesnít mean itís always the best decision for you. You may not be able to afford a house thatís the right size for your family. You may not even know what the right size home will be for you. When these questions remain, you could end up buying a property thatís the wrong size. Donít worry if you need to take a few more years to save up for a house. On the contrary, donít worry if you donít think buying a home is the right decision for you at all.     






Tags: Real-Estate   Buying a home   size  
Categories: Buying a Home  


Posted by Colleen Griffin on 11/12/2018

Buying a home should be a problem-free experience. Yet issues may arise that make it tough to acquire the perfect house at an affordable price.

Common problems that come up during the homebuying journey include:

1. Lack of Home Financing

Before you search for a home, it generally is a good idea to get pre-approved for a mortgage. That way, you can kick off a house search with a budget in hand.

To get pre-approved for a mortgage, you should meet with banks and credit unions. These financial institutions can teach you about a variety of mortgage options and help you get approved for home financing in no time at all.

Of course, if you have questions as you pursue a mortgage, don't hesitate to ask a lender for assistance. Lenders employ courteous, knowledgeable mortgage specialists who are happy to respond to your queries without delay.

2. Temptation to Submit a Lowball Offer to Purchase

Once you find your ideal residence, you may be tempted to submit an offer to purchase at or below a house seller's initial asking price. But doing so may be problematic, particularly for a homebuyer who wants to acquire his or her dream residence as quickly as possible.

If you submit a lowball offer to purchase a house, a seller likely will reject the proposal. Worst of all, a rival homebuyer may swoop in with a competitive offer to purchase this residence Ė something that may cause you to miss out on the opportunity to buy your ideal home.

Ultimately, it is beneficial to submit a competitive homebuying proposal. If you allocate time and resources to learn about a home's condition and how a residence stacks up against comparable houses in the same city or town, you can craft a competitive offer to purchase. And as a result, a competitive offer to purchase may receive an instant "Yes" from a home seller, leading to a fast, successful homebuying experience.

3. Failure to Identify Problems During a Home Inspection

A home inspection is paramount because it gives you the opportunity to walk through a residence with a property expert and learn about any underlying house issues. Then, if you discover major problems with a house, you can ask a seller to complete property repairs, reduce your initial offer to purchase or walk away from a residence altogether.

Hire a home inspector who possesses comprehensive expertise Ė you'll be glad you did. With the right house inspector at your side, you can get the help you need to identify problems during a property inspection.

Lastly, as you get ready to search for a house, you may want to hire a real estate agent as well. This housing market professional can provide extensive guidance throughout the property buying journey and ensure you can mitigate homebuying problems before they escalate.

Reach out to a real estate agent today, and you can receive plenty of support as you navigate the homebuying journey.




Categories: Buying a Home   buying tips  




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