Thinking of Buying a Home? Here’s Why Your Credit Score Matters
Buying a new home takes careful planning. In addition to deciding on location, features, and appearance, homebuyers must also think about their financing options. While most prospective buyers focus on finding the right home, choosing a mortgage to pay for the purchase is equally important.
Homebuyers will want to secure a mortgage with the lowest interest rate possible and a monthly payment that fits within their budget. In order to accomplish this, it’s recommended that prospective buyers start by cleaning up their credit report and boosting their credit score before applying for a loan.
Prospective Buyers Should Check Their Credit Score
Even buyers that don’t plan to shop for several months or even years could benefit from checking their credit reports periodically. This not only makes you more aware of your credit health, it also helps you catch and resolve issues sooner before they impact your ability to purchase a new home.
Although many people believe it’s better to have no credit than a bad credit score, this isn’t actually true. While having a mediocre credit score could raise the costs involved with buying a home, having no credit could make it impossible to get a mortgage at all.
FICO Score Determines How Much Borrowers Pay For a Home
Lenders look at a borrower’s FICO score to determine interest rates and the resulting interest payments. The higher the score, the lower the interest rate and interest payments will be. For example, let’s look at a $350,000 30-year fixed rate mortgage in California. A homebuyer with a credit score between 760 and 850 might see an APR of 3.778%. Whereas, a homebuyer with a credit score between 620 and 639 will likely see an APR closer to 5.374%. Although it doesn’t sound like a big difference, the second homebuyer will actually pay $119,956 more for the same home. In fact, they’ll pay a whopping $355,485 in interest alone, which is more than the original value of the home. This not only affects the homebuyer in the long run, it also makes their monthly mortgage payments higher.
Improve Your Credit Score Before Shopping for a Home
Once you’ve determined your credit score, it’s important to take the steps needed to boost your score if necessary. The fastest and easiest way to accomplish this is by making sure all accounts are in good standing and by lowering your credit utilization by making larger payments and/or paying off debt. Prospective homebuyers may also benefit from requesting a higher credit limit on the cards used most frequently. As long as you don’t spend against the increased limit, this is one of the fastest ways to reduce credit utilization.
The Problem With Too Much Available Credit
While making regular payments and keeping credit utilization under 30% can increase your credit score and improve your chance of obtaining a favorable interest rate, having too many outstanding credit lines, even if you do not use them, can hurt your FICO score by making you look more risky to lenders.
Borrowers with several open credit accounts often find it difficult to control their spending and keep track of due dates. Even if you have no plans to use open credit accounts, lenders may still see you as a risk. This is why it’s so important to close any credit accounts you do not use before applying for a loan.
Strategic Sales and Marketing offers a variety of real estate sales and marketing services. Our team has years of experience working with the real estate industry and understands the steps required to identify and connect with potential buyers.