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Buying a House with Less-than-Perfect Credit

mikejgold Home Buying Tips Leave a Comment

Do you believe your negative credit history disqualifies you from buying a home? That might not be the case. And even if you’re not in the position to buy today, there are some simple, effective actions you can take to boost your future prospects.

If you’re like most people, buying a home means securing a mortgage. To secure that mortgage, you need to convince banks you’re a good bet. Here’s how to start on the path to making your dream home a real home:

  1. Work towards a 10% down payment: Down payment assistance is very difficult to get without a credit score north of 640. So if you’re below the line, you’re going to help your odds of pre-approval by proving you have 10% down to put on your home. That 10% is especially helpful if your credit score is sub-550. Above 550 you might be able to land an FHA loan with only 3.5% in equity.
  1. Make moves to rebuild your credit: You don’t have to be perfect to improve your access to better mortgage terms. Here’s how to put points back on top: 1) Pay down your highest credit card balances first. 2) Get your credit report and look for errors you can correct or dispute. 3) Identify any outstanding debts or collections which you can manage to get cleared either through full payment or negotiated settlement. If you can push your rating above 620 you’ll not only get closer to better terms, but generally you’ll experience less scrutiny during the approval process.
  1. Get a realistic picture of your debt-to-income ratio. Focus on doing what you can to bring your debt-to-income ratio below 45%. Mortgages do exist for people with higher ratios, but generally credit scores are well above 600 for this to become a reality.
  1. Understand your “seasoning period.” If you’ve experienced a bankruptcy, foreclosure, or short sale scenario, it may not be possible for you to secure a mortgage for at least three years (and sometimes two, depending on the situation). Use this time to work on the three tips above!

If you’d like to begin hunting for your next home, I am happy to help guide you. Or, if you need a referral to a reputable mortgage professional, get in touch! I have a network of trusted folks I work with every year:

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