First time home buyers often face some common barriers to qualifying for a new loan: poor credit, feeling a bit overwhelmed, and a lack of knowledge about available options. Here are 5 tips to get you on the road to home ownership.
Tip # 1: Start now to improve your credit score: Having a low credit, or FICO, score is one of the biggest barriers to qualifying for a mortgage for first-time buyers. This is even true for people who have perfect payment histories and very little outstanding debt. Why? Because those two items only make up 65% of your credit score.
The remaining 35% of your score reflects your status in these areas: length of credit history, amount of recently-approved or "new" credit, and variation in types of credit currently extended to you. All of these lighter three factors typically affect first-time buyers. What to do? Start improving your credit score right away.
Tip # 2: Educate yourself about all of the loan factors: If you have never applied to or been accepted for a home loan before, it is natural that you may not know about all of the factors to consider when applying for a loan. There are multiple ways to structure your loan and a myriad of variables above and beyond just the rate you are getting. If you are just calling around asking for a good rate, you will likely get into a mortgage situation that does not take into account all of your needs. Make sure you educate yourself about all of the options available to you before you start making phone calls.
Tip # 3: Be persistent finish feeling overwhelmed: For those who have never owned a home, the idea of borrowing $ 100,000 or more can certainly sound daunting. This feeling of being overwhelmed can often cause a would-be borrowers to put off applying for a mortgage for yet another year. If this is you, it means just another year you will not be building equity in or enjoying your new home. It is natural to feel a bit overwhelmed, but make sure that this feeling does not stop you from moving forward and making it happen.
Tip # 4: Learn about unique financing options: Did you know in many cases it is possible to borrow against your IRA without incurring any sort of early withdrawal penalties? This is a privilege that people buying their second or third home do not have. Also: many locales have their own first-time buyer programs that give substantial incentives for people in your situation. Make sure you know all of your options before making your decision.
Tip # 5: If you get turned down, call at least 10 more lenders: Nobody likes to be forwarded for a loan. But, if you are returned the first time, call 10 more lenders. It is not the case that one size fits all and the situation of each lender is unique in terms of your eligibility. Also, contrary to popular belief, multiple credit report queries in a short span like 2-3 months from multiple mortgage lenders will not hurt your credit score.
Buying your first home should be an exciting, rewarding experience. By improving your credit score, being persistent in the process and educating yourself about your options, you could soon find yourself in the home of your dreams with a payment you can afford.