Checking Your Credit Before Buying Home

Checking Your Credit Before Buying Home

Gustan Cho Associates are mortgage brokers licensed in 48 states

This  guide covers checking your credit before buying home.  Your credit score and credit report are significant in the mortgage approval process. Lenders use your credit information to assess your creditworthiness and determine the interest rates and loan terms they can offer. A higher credit score can lead to lower interest rates and better loan terms, saving you thousands of dollars over the life of the mortgage. Two of the most important factors lenders look at is income and credit. Income is important because lenders want to know borrowers are able to afford the following:

  • monthly mortgage payments
  • other housing expenses such as utilities
  • minimum debt obligations
  • make sure that the new home mortgage will not be a strain new homeowner

Before purchasing a home, checking your credit to ensure you’re in the best possible position to secure a mortgage with favorable terms is crucial. Here are the steps and tips for checking and improving your credit before buying a home. In this article, we will discuss and cover checking credit before buying home and getting pre-approved.

Why Your Credit Matters

There are steps to check your credit. It is important to checking your credit before buying home and getting a mortgage loan approval.  The first step is to obtain your credit reports. You are entitled to a free credit report from each of the three major credit bureaus (Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion) once a year through AnnualCreditReport.com. Review all three reports to ensure there are no discrepancies or errors.

Review Your Credit Score

Your credit score is a numerical representation of your creditworthiness, typically ranging from 300 to 850. You can get your credit score from various sources, including your bank, credit card issuer, or credit reporting agencies. Some services, such as Credit Karma or Credit Sesame, offer free credit scores.

Check for Errors on Credit Reports

Carefully review your credit reports for errors or inaccuracies, such as incorrect personal information, accounts that don’t belong to you, incorrect account statuses, or outdated information. Dispute any errors with the credit bureau that provided the report. They are required to investigate and correct any inaccuracies.

Improving Your Credit Score

If you find that your credit score is lower than you’d like, there are several steps you can take to improve it: Pay Your Bills on Time: Your payment history is the most significant factor in your credit score. Ensure you pay all your bills on time, every time.

Reduce Your Debt

Pay down your credit card balances and avoid taking on new debt. Aim to keep your credit utilization ratio (the amount of credit you’re using compared to your credit limit) below 30%. Avoid Opening New Accounts: Opening new credit accounts can lower your average account age and result in hard inquiries on your credit report, negatively impacting your score.

Keep Old Accounts Open

The length of your credit history matters. To show a longer credit history, keep older accounts open and active. A mix of different types of credit (credit cards, installment loans, etc.) can positively affect your credit score. However, only take on new credit if needed and manage it responsibly. If you have past-due accounts, work to bring them current. If necessary, contact creditors to negotiate payment plans.

Timing and Planning

Check Your Credit Early: Start checking your credit at least six months to a year before you plan to buy a home. This gives you ample time to address any issues and improve your score. Monitor Your Credit: Monitor your credit reports and scores to track your progress and ensure no new issues arise.

Working with a Lender

Pre-Approval Process: Before house hunting, get pre-approved for a mortgage. This process involves a lender reviewing your credit, income, and financial situation to determine how much you can borrow. Different loan programs have varying credit score requirements. For example, conventional loans typically require a higher credit score than FHA or VA loans. By checking and improving your credit before buying a home, you can increase your chances of securing a mortgage with favorable terms and make the home-buying process smoother and more affordable.

Minimum Credit Score Mortgage Guidelines

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With credit, lenders will first check credit scores to see whether borrowers meet the minimum credit score requirements: Credit Scores dictate whether or not borrowers qualify for the particular mortgage loan program they are applying for. Meeting the minimum credit scores is not everything. Lenders will review consumer overall credit history on the credit report

Will especially check for any judgments, tax liens, public records, credit disputes, and will especially see if the consumer has been timely in making monthly debt payments for the past 12 months

Checking credit before buying a home is strongly recommended. There are very simple techniques in boosting credit scores. Simply paying down credit card balances will do extreme wonders in boosting credit scores. Consumers with no credit or little credit, then adding secured credit cards will definitely instantly boost credit scores. Secured credit cards are the best easiest and fastest way of re-establishing your credit. Speak With Our Loan Officer for Mortgage Loans

Checking Your Credit Before Buying Home: Why Lenders Place Emphasis on Credit

Checking Your Credit Before Buying HomeChecking credit before buying home is very important not just for qualification purposes but because it may save borrowers thousands of dollars over the term of their mortgage loan. Many home buyers do not realize that there are simple techniques in boosting their credit scores and improving their credit. This is why checking your credit before buying home is so important. Lenders view a mortgage loan applicant’s credit and credit history as an indicator of the amount of risk the borrower has. If the borrower has a stellar payment history and high credit score, that is a great indicator that the borrower will continue to make his or her payments on time.

Importance of Timely Payments in the Past 12 Months

Lenders understand borrowers may go through periods of bad credit due to extenuating circumstances such as periods of unemployment, divorce, medical issues, or loss of business. Having a prior history of bad credit will not impact the mortgage loan applicant’s chances of getting a mortgage approval nor will it affect borrower’s mortgage rates. Mortgage rates are based on the borrower’s credit scores and with conventional loans, the loan-to-value.

Lenders place much emphasis on credit because the borrower’s credit is the only way they can predict the probability of the future payment predictability of borrower and the borrower’s credit scores is how lenders assess risk.

The lower the borrower’s credit scores are, the higher risk the borrower is and the higher mortgage rates that will be charged. Loan Level Pricing Adjustments also referred to as LLPA is the pricing adjustment matrix for higher pricing adjustments due to credit, credit scores, loan to value, and other risk level pricing adjustments.

Minimum Credit Score To Qualify For Home Loan

The minimum credit score to qualify for FHA Loans is 580 for a 3.5% down payment home purchase loan. For conventional loans, the minimum credit score required is 620 credit scores. USDA Loans normally require 580 credit scores to qualify. VA Loans does not have a minimum credit score requirement nor a debt to income ratio requirement. However, borrowers can qualify for VA Loan with lower credit scores as long as they get an approve/eligible per Automated Underwriting System. Jumbo Loans normally require a 700 credit score and some Jumbo lenders will require a 740 credit score.

Checking Your Credit Before Buying Home: How Credit Disputes Can Backfire on Homebuyers

Another reason why checking your credit before buying house is so important is to check for any outstanding credit disputes. Disputes on derogatory credit tradelines are prohibited during the mortgage process. The reason why credit disputes are not allowed during the mortgage process is that credit disputes automatically triggers the credit scoring model to negate the derogatory item from its scoring system. A credit dispute will automatically boost consumer credit scores.

Retracting credit disputes will drop credit scores. Loan officers who issue a pre-approval with credit disputes are wasting their time because due to the credit scores, the pre-approval has no validity.

The credit dispute needs to be removed and the loan officer needs to rerun credit and see what the new credit scores are. Medical credit disputes are exempt and so are zero balance non-medical collection credit disputes. Checking your credit before buying home is not just important to maximize credit scores but checking your credit before buying home is equally as important to make sure that there are no credit disputes. Speak With Our Loan Officer for check your credit score for your loan

The Bottom Line How Not To Stress During The Mortgage Process

Having bad is like having a hangover. With time, it will naturally get better. Mortgage programs and lenders have minimum credit score requirements. You can easily increase your credit scores by paying down debt or adding credit. However, it takes time for the three credit bureaus to update consumer credit reports and update the new credit scores. Good credit scores will yield lower rates. The higher your credit scores, the easier to get approved for a mortgage and the lower the rates. Having good credit and higher credit scores are very important when qualifying for home loans. Higher credit scores mean lower mortgage rates. Lower rates mean big savings over the term of the loan. Please contact Gustan Cho Associates at 800-900-8569 or text us for a faster response. Or email us at gcho@gustancho.com.

FAQs: Checking Your Credit Before Buying Home

  • 1. Why is checking my credit important before buying a home? Assessing your credit is essential when seeking approval for a mortgage, as it significantly influences the interest rates and loan terms you may be offered. Lenders carefully examine your credit information to evaluate your reliability and establish the loan terms and interest rates they can offer. A better credit score may lead to reduced interest rates and better loan terms, potentially helping you save thousands of dollars throughout the home loan.
  • 2. How can I check my credit? The three major credit bureaus (Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion) provide individuals with free annual credit reports through AnnualCreditReport.com. Credit scores can be obtained from various sources, such as banks, credit card providers, or credit reporting agencies. In addition, Credit Karma or Credit Sesame offers free access to credit scores.
  • 3. What should I look for when reviewing my credit reports? When examining your credit reports, looking for errors or inaccuracies is crucial. These may involve incorrect personal information, accounts not yours, inaccurate account statuses, or misinformation. If you discover any errors, they must be disputed with the credit bureau that issued the report.
  • 4. How can I improve my credit score? To improve your credit score, remember to concentrate on timely bill payments, decreasing debt, refraining from opening new accounts, keeping existing accounts open, having a variety of credit, and dealing with past-due accounts.
  • 5. When should I start checking my credit? Start checking your credit at least six months to a year before you plan to buy a home. This gives you ample time to address any issues and improve your score.
  • 6. Why is the pre-approval process important? When seeking pre-approval for a mortgage, a lender will review your credit, income, and financial situation to assess your borrowing capacity. Various loan programs have different credit score prerequisites, and pre-approval aids in gauging affordability and enhancing your standing as a buyer.
  • 7. What are the minimum credit score requirements for different types of loans? What are the minimum credit score requirements for different types of loans? A minimum credit score of 580 is needed for FHA Loans if you’re making a 3.5% down payment. In contrast, Conventional Loans require at least a 620 credit score. USDA Loans generally ask for a minimum score of 580 as well. Interestingly, VA Loans do not have a specific minimum credit score, though approval via the Automated Underwriting System is necessary. As for Jumbo Loans, a higher credit score is typically required, usually around 700 or 740, depending on the lender’s criteria.
  • 8. What should I do if I have credit disputes? Checking your credit before buying a home is important to ensure no outstanding credit disputes. Disputes on derogatory credit tradelines are prohibited during the mortgage process, and retracting disputes can drop your credit scores. Medical credit disputes are exempt, and zero balance non-medical collection credit disputes are also exempt.
  • 9. How can I avoid stress during the mortgage process? To avoid stress during the mortgage process, planning and starting early to give yourself time to improve your credit is important. Keeping yourself informed by monitoring your credit reports and scores is also crucial. Effective communication with your lender and loan officer will help ensure a smooth process. Lastly, staying disciplined by paying down existing debt and avoiding taking on new credit will put you in a stronger position.

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