3 Ways to get your credit ready for buying a home

Warren Oberholser
Warren Oberholser
Published on May 17, 2021

Hi, I’m Warren Oberholser. I’m a realtor in the East Bay Tri-Valley area in Northern California. My goal is to help both buyers and sellers get maximum results for one of their biggest investments, their home.

Probably the least fun part of buying a house are those first steps. Shopping for a lender, applying for a mortgage, and waiting to find out how much you can afford to spend on that new house is tedious – especially when all you really want to do is look at houses for sale.

Unfortunately, this is a task that must be taken care of upfront, before looking at what’s on the market. If your credit is ready before taking the step, you’ll be far more successful in obtaining a mortgage with an attractive rate, saving you money on your house payment.

Take the following steps as soon as you decide you’d like to buy a home.

1. Make bill payments on time

One of the worst things you can do is pay bills late or, even more disastrous, not at all. Both will impact your credit score and thus your ability to obtain a mortgage.

“Your FICO Score considers late payments using these general criteria; how recent the late payments are, how severe the late payments are, and how frequently the late payments occur,” caution the experts at myfico.com.

Don’t allow any bills to be sent to a collection agency; “… it is considered a significant event with regard to your score and will likely have a severe negative impact.”

If an unexpected financial emergency comes up, contact the creditor. Let them know your situation and ask if there is a way you can avoid a late payment on your credit.

Your payment history accounts for 35% of your FICO score, so be diligent in paying your bills.

2. Don’t apply for new credit

Keep credit card balances low and pay all credit card bills before they’re due. If you can, make additional payments to bring down the balances.

Avoid applying for a new credit card. Why? Lenders are wary of borrowers who take on additional debt and if you apply for credit, the signal that you’re sending is that you will use it and, thus, rack up additional debt.

While FICO only considers new credit applications for the past 12 months, they account for 10% of your credit score.

New accounts also have an impact on “… your length of credit history.” FICO uses your “… oldest account and the average of all your accounts.” Opening a new account decreases the average age.

The exception to this rule is for the consumer with a spotty credit record. “If you can prove to lenders that you can pay your bills on time, this will help increase your score in the long run,” claim the experts.

And, by the way, credit inquiries remain on your credit record for two years.

3. Lower your debt-to-income ratio

When your mortgage application gets to the underwriter, he or she will examine your debt-to-income ratio (DTI).

Simply, this is a calculation of your income and debt that tells the underwriter how much money comes in and how much goes out every month. Borrowers with a high DTI (more than 43%) present a bigger risk to lenders.

Calculate yours with these tips from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. To lower your DTI, either decrease your debt, raise your income or do both. Find some additional tips on how to lower your DTI at credit.com.

I hope you enjoyed this article. Please let me know if you have any questions. Warren

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Hello…I work with both buyers and sellers in the Tri-Valley area of Northern California. The Tri-Valley is comprised of 6 cities: Pleasanton, Livermore, Dublin, San Ramon, Danville, and Alamo. To better understand what each city has to offer, I have created a Pros and Cons video and BLOG for each – (Pros & Cons for Pleasanton, Pros & Cons for Livermore, Pros & Cons for Dublin, Pros & Cons for San Ramon, Pros & Cons for Danville and Pros & Cons for Alamo). If you are thinking about purchasing or selling a home, please reach out to me by text, phone, or email. If it is convenient, I can schedule a Zoom chat so we can discuss your home goals. Wishing you all the best on your home journey. Cheers!

🏡Homebuyers guide 🏡

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Warren Oberholser

eXp Realty

[email protected]

(925) 980-4603

DRE # 01861944

ALL MATERIAL PRESENTED HEREIN IS INTENDED FOR INFORMATIONAL PURPOSES ONLY. THE INFORMATION CONTAINED HEREIN HAS BEEN OBTAINED THROUGH SOURCES DEEMED RELIABLE BUT CANNOT BE GUARANTEED AS TO ITS ACCURACY. SUBJECT MATERIAL MAY HAVE ERRORS, OMISSIONS, CHANGES, OR WITHDRAWAL WITHOUT NOTICE. ANY INFORMATION OF SPECIAL INTEREST SHOULD BE OBTAINED THROUGH INDEPENDENT VERIFICATION.

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