Susan Fung's Blog
Applying for your first home loan can seem scary or daunting to many first-time homeowners. However, this process, if done correctly, can save you thousands or tens of thousands of dollars on interest over the lifetime of your loan.
Before you apply for a loan, there are several documents you’ll want to gather and steps you’ll want to take to ensure the application process goes smoothly. In today’s post, we’ll talk about one specific aspect of the mortgage application process--credit scores.
Credit scores may seem confusing. However, since they can so drastically affect your home loan interest rate, it’s important to understand their implications.
Credit checks and mortgages
One of the things that all lenders will want to see before approving you for a home loan is your credit score. If you’re thinking of applying for a mortgage, odds are that you’ve been working to build credit by paying off loans and credit cards on time each month.
The three main credit bureaus in the U.S. are all required to give you a yearly free credit report. This is a detailed document that outlines your lines of credit, payment dates, and amounts. It’s a good idea to get a detailed credit report and check for errors before applying for a loan.
Unlike a hard “credit inquiry,” a free report does not affect your credit score, so you don’t have to worry about dropping a few points by requesting one of these reports.
When applying for a mortgage, however, lenders will perform a hard credit inquiry to determine your borrowing eligibility. This is a part of the pre-approval process and is typically unavoidable.
This is important to note if you are planning on applying to multiple lenders. Be aware that each “prequalification” and “preapproval” may come with a temporary drop in your credit score.
Since credit inquiries make up a total of about 10% of your credit score, these inquiries can make a difference in the short term. For this reason, it’s a good idea to avoid opening new cards or taking out other loans (such as an auto loan or student loan) within six months of your mortgage application.
If you aren’t sure of your current score, you can always check for free from websites like Credit Karma and Mint.
One last thing to note about credit scores and their relationship to mortgages is that most lenders use a specific type of score known as a FICO score. In fact, every adult in the United States with a credit score will have three FICO scores, one from each major credit bureau.
So, when checking up on your credit score, it’s good to remember that each score will be slightly different and your lender’s score may not reflect what you see online.
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If you intend to sell your house, you may want to let your family know about your decision. In fact, there are many reasons why you should consult with family members before you add your house to the real estate market. These reasons include:
1. You can address any concerns or questions.
Family members may have concerns or questions about your decision to sell your home. Fortunately, you can address their concerns and questions before you list your residence.
Remember, family members care about your well-being. If you involve them in the home selling process, you may be able to avoid potential conflicts down the line. Perhaps best of all, if you share your decision to sell your residence with family members, you can help them get on board with your decision.
2. You can plan ahead for the home selling journey.
The home selling journey may prove to be long and difficult, particularly for an individual who initially tries to work alone. Luckily, family members can offer lots of assistance as you get ready to sell your house.
If you inform family members about your decision to sell your home, they can help you prep for all aspects of the property selling journey. For example, family members can help you clean your residence and ensure that it looks great both inside and outside. As a result, telling your family members about your decision to sell your house may enable you to speed up the process of selling your house.
3. You can receive home selling guidance and support.
Family members are ready to help you in any way they can. Thus, if family members sold houses in the past, they may be able to share their house selling experiences with you. And as such, you can learn from their past experience so you are better equipped than ever before to streamline the home selling journey.
Lastly, as you prepare to enter the housing market, you may want to collaborate with a real estate agent. This housing market professional is happy to help you break the news about your decision to sell your home to family members. Also, he or she will provide comprehensive support as you navigate each stage of the house selling process.
Typically, a real estate agent will craft a personalized home selling strategy based on you, your home and your house selling goals. He or she next will set up property showings and open house events to promote your residence to prospective buyers. If a buyer submits an offer to purchase your house, a real estate agent will help you review this proposal so you can determine whether to approve, reject or counter it.
For home sellers who want to enjoy a fast, profitable house selling experience, it often is beneficial to hire a real estate agent. If you have a real estate agent at your side, you can quickly stir up interest in your home and boost the likelihood of maximizing your property sale earnings.