As we are all aware based upon the turmoil in the mortgage industry, several years ago it seemed anyone could qualify for a mortgage; no credit, no work history, no down payment, etc. Those times have changed. In todays housing market qualifying for a mortgage is a much more difficult task, but it can be done. I have advice to help you navigate the murky waters of securing a mortgage. Here are some helpful tips:
First, make sure to inspect all three of your credit reports. Check over your reports from Equifax, Experian and Transunion. Be sure that all information is correct. If you see something that is wrong or does not belong to you, submit the necessary form to all three agencies to dispute the account. As you monitor you credit reports you will be able to help improve your FICO score. The FICO score is a measurement of your ability to repay a loan. Unfortunately, mortgage lenders base your lending eligibility based on a score that doesn’t always accurately measure your financial stability. You can improve your score by paying down debt, paying all of your credit cards on time and keeping open accounts with a zero balance.
Next, save for a larger down payment. Ever dollar counts. If you are able to increase you household income, great. That may seem like a tall order given today’s job market, but mortgage lenders want to be sure you can repay the loan. Two-income families qualify easier than a single-income household. Get a second job, become a two-income family or start a home based business.
When you are considering your monthly payment, choose a realistic budget. Normally, a mortgage payment should be no more than 25% of your monthly income. Choose a price range that fits that criteria. If you make $4,000 a month, then a mortgage payment of $1,250 is appropriate. Spending the majority of your income on mortgage payments makes you “house poor”.
Something that not all people consider is staying with one employer. Stability in a job is key, especially in today’s market. Staying with the same employer at least two years will weigh in your favor.
Now is the time to buy, but lenders are no longer willing to had out loans to just anyone. Don’t let this discourage you. Take the time to consider your options, fine tune your personal finances and set yourself up for success.