Mortgage Preparation Tips
Mortgage preparation tips
The checklist to a successful home buying experience
Buying a home is probably the single largest investment most people make in a lifetime. By preparing yourself and your finances before a home purchase, you can ensure a smooth finance process and can potentially save thousands on your loan.
Start by checking your credit
- To get the best possible mortgage rate, make sure your
credit history is healthy and accurate. Aim to raise your credit score above 650 in order to qualify for most prime loans.
- If your
credit score is not quite 650, focus your efforts on paying bills on time, reducing your debt balances, avoiding new inquiries and clearing negative inaccuracies from your credit report. It is possible to improve your credit score quite a bit over a few months.
- Make sure the information on your report is correct and fix any problems you discover. Give yourself 30-90 days for correcting inaccuracies. You can learn more about the dispute process online here.
- Found an error while reviewing your credit with the lender? Ask about the "rapid rescoring" process where you can submit a dispute and potentially improve your credit in 72 hours.
- For a complete understanding of your credit history, check your
3-in-1 Credit Report and Credit Scores online.
Figure out how much you can afford
Pick a mortgage to fit your finances
Improving your finances before you start to shop can help you save thousands on your mortgage. Reducing your loan rate by just 1/2 a point you can potentially save a whopping $22,000 over the life of a $200,000 loan.
- Fixed rate mortgages have a set monthly payment that remains constant through the life of the loan. The interest rates tend to be a bit higher on fixed rate loans.
- Adjustable rate mortgages give you a lower initial interest rate with the risk of it rising in years to come. If interest rates decrease you will have an advantage over fixed rate borrowers. Setting a rate cap about 5-6 percent above your initial rate will protect you from extreme jumps in interest rates.
- File away a list of all your account numbers--with expiration dates and telephone numbers. If your wallet is stolen, you will be able to quickly alert your creditors.
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