If one of your goals this year is to buy a home, we’re sharing advice to prepare you for the process. We asked our top mortgage advisors to provide us with their tips and recommendations for homebuyers in 2020. We want to share these tips with you, future homebuyer!
Question: What tips & recommendations do you have for homebuyers in 2020?
"Subscribe to a credit monitoring service to actively check your credit scores. Most major credit card companies offer free credit monitoring. However, you can check your reports for free at www.annualcreditreport.com. While the free reports do not provide a score, you can pay a small fee to have your score attached. This is a government sponsored website and anyone can access this for free every 12 months. If you’re serious about buying in 2020, I highly encourage getting prequalified with a mortgage loan officer, who can review your credit report with you up front, before you begin the home shopping process." -Shannon Cole, Loan Officer, Fort Myers FL
"Don’t miss any debt payments or increase your debts (like buying a car) while your home is being built or during the approval process." -Chase Wilson, Production Manager, Houston TX
“Figure out a plan before picking out a house. Talk to a lender, see what your credit score is and what you can truly afford in your monthly budget. If your credit score isn’t where it needs to be, you can make a plan to fix it before finding your new home. Once you find what your budget is, you can ensure you aren’t falling in love with a home you can’t afford.” -Steve Harrison, Loan Officer, Vancouver WA
"Start the process before you think you need to. Learn about your credit and experiment with numbers until you have a comfortable understanding. For many people, the cost of a mortgage payment is less than rent. Putting less than 20% down today is more affordable than ever. With good credit, Private Mortgage Insurance is inexpensive. Home prices are generally going up. The cost of waiting can outweigh the benefits of saving." -Joe Rose, Loan Officer, East Dundee IL
"Before you begin your home buying process, take a look at your credit report. Check if you or your co-borrower have any outstanding collection accounts that you can pay off and have deleted from your report. It can take time to clean up your credit, but the results of a higher credit score can include a larger selection of mortgage products, a lower interest rate, lower MI payment, and all of those factors can contribute to a lower monthly payment. You may be able to afford a larger mortgage as a result or qualify for a program to help with your out of pocket expenses that you otherwise would not qualify for." -Rachel Klippenstein, Loan Officer, Fresno CA
“Make sure you are checking your monthly budget to determine how much home you can not only afford but feel comfortable with. It is very easy to become emotionally attached to that perfect home to later find out it was not really in your budget. Even if the mortgage payment seems affordable, don’t forget to factor in your budget other obligations such as: CDD/HOA fees, taxes, insurance, increased utilities, etc. Know your budget and factor in all housing expenses before making an Offer.” -Chad Fairbanks, Production Manager, Jacksonville FL
“Consider all your options! For example, you may be able to afford more home by investing less money towards your down payment and applying the difference to pay off monthly obligations. To top it off, you could be eligible for the lender to pay for your monthly mortgage insurance! It’s a win-win!” -Elizabeth Martin, VP Division Manager, Sacramento CA
Ready to take the first step toward homeownership? Get pre-qualified today with one of our top mortgage advisors!