Your credit score – and 3 other things to know before buying a home

While market conditions continue to change as we move into the fall season, one thing remains constant. The journey of a first-time homebuyer can get complicated. However, our teams and fellow real estate professionals are here to help. 

When we spotted this article about credit scores from CNBC recently, we knew it would make a perfect blog topic. No matter how much interest rates fluctuate, improving your credit score by just a handful of points can save you thousands of dollars over the life of a home loan. Three ways you can help your credit score are 1). Keep making bill payments on time. 2). If possible, avoid making large purchases that need to be financed until after you buy a home. 3). Use less than 30 percent of your available credit on your credit cards – and pay down any debt above that level.

Here are three more things we want first-time homebuyers to know.

  • It’s never too early to start the home-buying conversation. It’s easy to believe you won’t get approved to buy a home because of debt. However, if you’re thinking about buying a house anytime soon, start by talking to a loan officer. You may be surprised by what that person says or learn that you qualify for a special program you didn’t even know existed.
  • You don’t need 20 percent down. This is the traditional number you may have heard from your parents or grandparents, but times have changed. There are options with a down payment as low as 3 percent – and through some programs that figure is zero. In fact, the median nationwide down payment in 2021 was only 7 percent for first-time buyers, according to the National Association of REALTORS®.

Ask plenty of questions. Buying a home is a long process, but you have a team of people rooting for you – and all of us want to make sure you’re comfortable and happy. It’s both important to know what you want and to be flexible. From making an offer to the inspection process and, finally, to our closing table – there will be a lot going on. However, we are here to guide you to the finish line and want to make sure it’s a smooth experience for all involved.

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