I’ve recently been struck by just how meaningful it is to watch someone’s dreams come true. It was my pleasure to assist some buyers recently who had been searching with me for literally a year. Their shopping budget was a little low, so the things we were seeing weren’t in good shape. One of the buyers spoke broken English so her sister served as translator. We looked at house after house, bringing along kids and family, with each one hoping it would be the one.
To make a long story short, we finally found a short sale that seemed perfect. After much negotiating, we had a deal. Then, health issues caused delays and Hurricane Matthew threw us a curve ball, but we finally made it to closing and what an emotional closing it was. There were hugs and tears all around as we felt the magnitude of the moment. Home ownership, finally…
If you’re dreaming about home ownership and don’t know if it’s possible, here are some tips for getting started.
- Check your credit. Everyone can get a free credit report once a year from freecreditreport.com. And, creditkarma.com really is free and, although not entirely accurate, it can give you a good idea about what’s on your credit report. If you haven’t checked it in a while, there may be some errors you could dispute. There may be an old bill you forgot about that you could easily pay off. Either way, you know what you’re dealing with and what you can do to improve your score, if it needs improving. If you’re in the 700s, you’re golden. High 600s are quite acceptable too. In the 500s you’ll have some trouble getting financed and you’ll likely have a higher interest rate.
- Maximize your credit. If your credit needs serious repair, let me recommend Trinity Enterprises to help with that. Creditkarma.com will also recommend what you can do to improve your credit. Sometimes you don’t have enough lines of credit so they’ll recommend you get another credit card. (Having no credit is as bad as having bad credit. If there is no history, there is nothing proving that you’d be a good credit risk.) If you are carrying too high a balance on your credit cards, they may suggest you pay some debt off. It’s best to keep your balance under 30% of available credit. Don’t take on a new payment unless you need to show more credit history.
- Save some cash. The more money you have to put down on a property the better. If you can put down at least 20% you can avoid Private Mortgage Insurance (PMI) being added to your mortgage payment. There are programs available with as little as 3.5% down. Veteran programs exist with zero down. Besides your down payment, you’ll also need cash for closing costs, to pay for inspections and the appraisal.
- Stay employed. Try not to change jobs unless it’s a step up in a similar industry. Part of what is considered by the lender is your job stability and reliable income.
These days, mortgages can actually be less money than a rent payment. If you want to apply right now and see what you qualify for, please visit applywithwatson.com! Then, when you have your pre qualification letter, we can go shopping! Call me when you’re ready or if you have any questions, 407-236-6559. It would be my honor to assist you in making your dream come true!