Buying a home is a big deal. There’s plenty to stress about, from finding the right home to securing your mortgage loan. At Mortgages by Jill, we want to help you prepare by letting you know what you can do to qualify for a mortgage, so you have one less thing to worry about.
Check your credit score
Your credit score is the top determining factor considered by lenders as to whether or not you qualify for a mortgage or not. It also determines the interest rate you’ll get with your home loan. The score itself is based on your ability to pay bills on time as well as your debt-to-income ratio. You’ll see your score shown as a three-digit number between 300 and 850. Scores are organized into four categories as follows:
- Bad: 300 to 629
- Fair: 630 to 689
- Good: 690 to 719
- Excellent: 720 to 850
Fix errors on your credit report
Beyond your credit score, your credit report contains additional information like your name, address, social security number, and old debts. It’s vital to ensure that all of this information is correct so mistakes don’t affect your score poorly. Submit your corrections at least six months before you start shopping for a house, so they have time to take effect on your report.
Improve your credit score
One reason it’s essential to check your credit months before you start shopping for a house is so you can work on improving your score before you apply for a loan. If your credit score is in the fair or even good range, you’re going to have a difficult time getting a favorable interest rate or even securing the loan at all.
If you’re having a hard time thinking of ways to improve your credit score, consider paying off small debts first. These small loans can be an easy way to lower the amount of debt on your report and help your score. Continuing to pay your bills on time will go toward improving your credit score as well. If you don’t have any debt, consider opening a credit card or line of credit with your financial institution.
Lower your debt-to-income ratio
Your debt-to-income ratio is not only part of your credit score, but lenders will also look at it as a gauge for how well you manage your money. Your DIT ratio is determined by gross monthly income divided by the total dollar amount in debt you pay each month, including monthly housing payments, student loans, credit cards, car payments, and others. You can improve your debt-to-income ratio by taking on another job or paying down some of your debts.
Don’t make any other large purchases
When you’re trying to buy a house, your financial focus should be on qualifying for and buying a home. It’s not uncommon for individuals who recently got a pay raise at work to let their eyes get big and try to buy the house, car, and boat all within a few months. Even if you have the money, this isn’t a good idea because it looks impulsive, and lenders will think that your wild spending puts you at a higher risk of defaulting on your mortgage loan.
Save for a down payment
You shouldn’t rush into buying a house. It should be a decision that you take several months or years to plan for so you can find the home that’s right for you and your needs. You should also take time to buy a house because it’s highly recommended that you save for a down payment. Putting as much as 20% down on a home tells the lender that you’re serious about the purchase, as you’re demonstrating a willingness to put your own money toward the investment.
Reach out to speak with a loan expert
If you’d like more information about ways to improve your chances at qualifying for mortgage loans, get in touch with us at Mortgages By Jill. We’ll happily help you start planning for your purchase by evaluating your credit score and matching you with loan qualifications. Give us a call at 336-740-9068 or send a message via our contact form.