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Will you be on the hunt for a new home in 2021? If you haven’t already started thinking about your New Year’s resolutions, it’s time to get to work.
Here are six resolutions that can get your financial resume in shape and put you in prime position to buy that fabulous new dream home.
Start saving for your down payment. You’ll most likely need to make a substantial down payment on your new residence. Unless you have serious cash on hand, that means you’ll have to save diligently for some time. Set a realistic goal and start saving now.
Build a solid credit history. Lenders prefer borrowers who have a history of paying off credit cards and other debts on time because it indicates that they’re responsible and less of a risk. If you don’t have credit, securing a home loan may be significantly more challenging but it’s not impossible. Records of paying rent, utilities, cell phone bills, and/or student loans on time can show a potential lender that you can manage your monthly payments.
If your credit is poor, work to fix it. Your credit score will have a major impact on your mortgage loan approval and interest rate. According to credit-rating company Equifax, a score of 690 or higher is considered “good”. If your credit is in the tank, create an action plan to improve it and get to work before you start the pre-qualification process. Depending upon your situation, this might include paying down and consolidating your debt; making payments on time and in full; and reducing credit card usage or not using them at all.
Get organized and preapproved. You’ll need a thorough understanding of your income and expenses before you embark on the home-buying process. It’s important to speak with a lender and get a preapproval letter upfront because it generally locks in an interest rate for 90 days and allows you to focus on homes in your price range. Prior to contacting the lender, assemble relevant financial information, including at least two years’ worth of tax returns; recent bank statements; the total of your monthly debt payments (auto loans, student loans, and credit card minimum payments); your credit score and any credit issues you may have had over the past five years; and the amount of your down payment.
Budget for additional expenses beyond your mortgage. Buying a home isn’t a cheap endeavor. Other monthly expenses to consider are homeowner’s insurance; property taxes; private mortgage insurance or PMI, which is required if your down payment is less than 20%; and utilities. The cost for homeowner’s insurance will depend on the size of the home, its age, the location, and the value of your personal possessions. Property taxes are collected by the local government and will depend on your home’s taxable value. You can get a rough idea of the monthly utility costs by requesting this information from the seller.
Hold off on major purchases. Avoid taking on large amounts of debt while you’re searching for your new home. Whether it’s buying a car or taking an extravagant vacation, it’s best to wait, even you’re already preapproved. Your debt-to-income ratio, which reflects how much money you make compared to how much you owe, can significantly affect the amount lenders will give you. Keeping debts to a minimum will help your home-buying process go off without a hitch.
2021 is the year to make your dream of homeownership come true!
The helpful professionals at Certified Title are here with valuable tools and information to help you get there. To learn more, please contact our experienced team today.
About Certified Title Corporation: Since 1994, attorney-owned Certified Title Corporation has been furnishing residential and commercial real estate stakeholders across the nation with robust title insurance, settlement, and escrow services. Renowned for industry-leading reliability and an exemplary level of service and quality, the Maryland-based company helps clients from all walks of life achieve their asset goals. To learn more, call (888)486-5511 or visit https://www.certifiedtitlecorp.com/.