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.
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.
As a homebuyer, you may want to consider the seller's perspective before you submit an offer to purchase your dream house. That way, you can boost the likelihood of receiving an instant "Yes" to your homebuying proposal.
Now, let's take a look at three tips to help you analyze the seller's perspective.
1. Review the Prices of Comparable Homes
Once you find your dream home, you may want to take a look at the prices of comparable residences in the same city or town. This housing market data can help you narrow the price range for houses in a particular area.
With insights into the prices of houses that are similar to your dream home, you can put together a data-driven offer to purchase. Perhaps best of all, you can avoid the risk of submitting a "lowball" homebuying proposal that misses the mark with a home seller.
2. Assess the Housing Market
The current state of the housing market may have far-flung effects on how much you should offer to pay for a residence.
For instance, in a buyer's market, there is an abundance of available houses and a shortage of buyers. This often means buyers can browse dozens of outstanding houses and won't necessarily face steep competition to acquire the right residence at the right price.
On the other hand, a seller's market favors sellers. It generally features an abundance of buyers and a shortage of top-notch residences. Therefore, if you're searching for a home in a seller's market, you may need to submit a competitive offer to purchase to secure your dream house.
Review the housing market closely so you can differentiate a buyer's market from a seller's market. If you find houses are selling quickly at or above sellers' initial asking prices, you likely are operating in a seller's market. Or, if you find houses linger on the real estate market for many weeks or months and sell at or below sellers' initial asking prices, you may be working in a buyer's market.
3. Collaborate with a Real Estate Agent
A real estate agent is a homebuying expert who can provide you with housing market insights that you may struggle to obtain elsewhere. Plus, he or she can help you evaluate the seller's perspective so you can submit a competitive offer to purchase the home of your choice.
Let's not forget about the assistance that a real estate agent provides throughout the property buying journey, either. A real estate agent can help you hone your home search and find your ideal residence in no time at all. Furthermore, if you have concerns or questions at any point during the homebuying journey, a real estate agent is ready to address them.
Want to purchase your dream house at a price that matches your budget? Consider the seller's perspective – you'll be glad you did. If you review the seller's perspective, you can craft a competitive homebuying proposal and move closer to acquiring your ideal house at a budget-friendly price.