Judy Korzenowski's Blog
If you’re hoping to buy a home in the near future, there are a number of financial factors you’ll need to consider.
One of the factors that all lenders will consider when determining whether or not to approve you for a mortgage is credit score.
In this article, we’ll lay out the minimum and ideal credit scores that are needed for getting approved for a home loan.
Determining Your Score
As you may guess, credit reporting is a complicated business. There are three main reporting companies that lenders use to determine your credit: Experian, TransUnion, and Equifax. These companies largely collect the same data about your finances, but can have minor variations. Lenders will take these scores and use the median or middle score to determine your credit rating.
Thanks to the Fair Credit Reporting Act, Americans have the ability to confirm the accuracy of their reports.
If you want to find your credit score, there are a number of online reporting agencies that will show you your report for free on an annual or monthly basis.
Minimum credit scores
Depending on the type of loan you’re applying for and which lender you are pursuing, minimum credit scores vary.
For those seeking first-time homeowner (FHA) loans, you’ll need a credit score of at least 580 to qualify for a 3.5% down payment. A score lower than this amount and you will need to put at least 10% down.
Since FHA loans are insured by the government, you are more likely to be approved if you have a low or “poor” or “bad” credit score (usually anywhere from 300 to 650).
Another type of loan that could help people with low credit is offered by the Department of Veteran’s Affairs. These loans, known as VA loans, are guaranteed, in part, by the government. However, the loans are still approved and distributed by lenders who all have varying minimum credit requirements. A good benchmark is that you’ll need a score of at least 620 to be approved.
Minimum isn’t ideal
While you may get approved for a loan with a low credit, this isn’t always a reason to celebrate.
Lenders use your credit score, among other things, to help determine the interest rate of your loan. A lower score often means a higher interest rate.
While 1 or 2 percent can seem like a small number, it can mean paying tens of thousands of dollars more in interest over the span of a thirty-year loan.
To illustrate the importance of one percent, consider the following. If you owe $200,000 on a home and intend to pay it over 30 years, you will pay $103,000 in interest at 3% and $143,000 at 4% - that’s a difference of $40,000.
Rather than shooting for the minimum credit score, a better approach would be to build credit while saving for a down payment. Someone with a credit score of 740 or higher will be seen by most mortgage lenders as an ideal person to lend to.
Of course, life doesn’t always allow for the ideal situation. So, do your best to save and build credit, and be sure to shop around for the best rates when you’re ready.
Believe it or not, a home listing may make or break your ability to sell your residence. If your initial home listing fails to stir up interest from property buyers, there is no need to stress. In fact, there are many quick, easy ways to bolster a house listing.
Now, let's take a look at three tips to help you transform an ordinary home listing into an exceptional one.
1. Include High-Quality Home Images
High-quality images that showcase your home's kitchen, bathrooms and other areas could help you differentiate your residence from other available properties. Perhaps most important, these images may make it easy for property buyers to fall in love with your house – something that could lead to many home showings in the near future.
If you plan to take photographs for a home listing, it is important to clean your residence and remove clutter in advance. That way, you can use images to showcase the true size and beauty of your house.
Also, if you need help with photographing your house, you may want to hire a real estate photographer. This professional can help you capture top-notch images of your home that you can instantly incorporate into your house listing.
2. Provide Accurate Information About Your Home
A home is a major investment, and as such, you should strive to provide buyers with as much information as possible about your residence. By doing so, you can make it simple for a buyer to determine whether your residence is the right choice.
Oftentimes, it helps to include room measurements, information about recent home upgrades and other relevant details about your residence in a property listing. Consider the buyer's perspective, and you may be better equipped than ever before to include home details that could help you differentiate your residence from the competition.
3. Be Honest with Property Buyers
There is no need to stretch the truth in a home listing, and doing so may do more harm than good as you try to sell your house. Instead, be honest, and you can craft an effective house listing that hits the mark with the right groups of buyers.
Lastly, as you search for ways to improve your home listing, you may want to collaborate with a real estate agent. This housing market professional will help you navigate all stages of the property selling journey and ensure you can achieve your desired home selling results.
A real estate agent will learn about you and your home and help you put together an engaging and informative house listing. Then, he or she will host home showings and open house events. And if you receive an offer to purchase your home, a real estate agent will help you review this proposal and determine the best course of action.
Eliminate the guesswork associated with preparing an effective home listing and other property selling tasks – hire a real estate agent today, and you can get the help you need to streamline the home selling journey.
There's no question about it: Aging can be a mixed blessing -- especially if you're not prepared for it! Although aging does bring with it some advantages -- the most notable one being wisdom -- a certain amount of physical decline is inevitable.
Staying active and leading a healthy lifestyle are two ways to slow down the aging process, but there's another key element many people overlook when planning for their retirement years: eliminating tripping and slipping hazards in the home. Whether you're concerned about your own wellbeing or that of aging parents, here are several steps you can take to reduce the risk of injury from accidental falls.
- Install or secure stair railings: While most homes are equipped with stair railings, they may eventually become loose, wobbly, or even detached. Making sure that all stairways have easy-to-reach, securely fastened railings can make life at home safer for everyone.
- Stair safety tips: Slippery stairs (indoors and out) may need to have adhesive safety strips applied to them to help improve traction. If freezing temperatures are ever an issue for you, it's always helpful to have a small, easy to lift bag of rock salt on hand to melt icy walkways and stairs. Even though you may live in a warmer part of the country, temperatures do occasionally plummet to 32 degrees and below, so no one is immune to cold snaps and occasional freezing conditions in winter --even Floridians! Here's one cautionary tip that relates to basement stairs: For some reason, perhaps because of inadequate lighting, people (of all ages) sometimes take a tumble when they don't see the bottom stair. If this ever happens in your home, you may need to either make the lighting brighter and/or apply bright tape or paint to the bottom stair to make it more visible.
- Reduce slipping hazards in bathrooms: Bathtub and shower floor surfaces can get pretty slippery when soap, shampoo, and water are added, so the use of non-slip rubber mats or safety appliques can help prevent potentially dangerous falls. Installing grab bars in showers and bathtub areas can make life easier and safer for aging residents or visitors in your home, too.
- Remove clutter from floors and stairs: This objective can be more challenging when you have children who leave toys, books, balls, clothes, spilled liquids, food, and other miscellaneous things on the floor. However, when you have seniors trying to safely navigate their way around the house, keeping clutter and spills to a bare minimum is essential. That also holds true for minimizing tripping risks from cable wires, extension cords, and throw rugs.
If you're considering remodeling all or part of your home to accommodate either your needs or those of aging relatives, many experienced contractors and remodelers are well versed in products and strategies for making a home more senior friendly or handicapped accessible.
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