Thursday, December 14, 2017

Tips to Get You Ahead of the Game in 2018

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If you’re thinking about buying a house in 2018, the time to start working on it is now. Actually, December through January is the perfect time to get the ball rolling so you can hit the ground running next year. Here are a couple quick tips to keep in mind to get ahead of your game and the competition.

1. Check your credit score. Having good credit is like gold when applying for a mortgage. Typically, you’ll get the best rates if your credit score is around 740 or higher. But if you don’t have perfect credit, it’s okay. Just start working on it now. The first thing you’ll want to do is check your credit report to see if there are any errors on there that are easily fixable; a lot of times there are. Pay your bills on time, and make sure that you don’t carry a balance that’s above 30% of your available credit.

2. Don’t open any new lines of credit. Don’t buy a car or anything really expensive for Christmas. As you’re doing your holiday shopping, I know it’s tempting to save the 20% on the new card department stores push at you, but it can actually hurt your chances of getting a loan, so don’t overspend during the holiday season.

3. Ask for money for Christmas instead of traditional gifts. When you buy a house, you’re going to need money for closing costs, unexpected repairs, upgrades you’ll want to do, and anything other projects you decide to undergo. That in mind, it’s a good idea to ask for cash instead of gifts for the holidays.

Make sure that you don’t carry a balance that’s above 30% of your available credit.

4. Find a good mortgage lender even before you start shopping online, because you don’t want to fall in love with a house you can’t afford. A good lender will be able to tell you how much home you actually qualify for and how much you want to qualify for. You may qualify for a $300,000 house, but you might not want the payment associated with it. A good lender can give you a guideline of what price range to look at. Now’s a good time to take a look at closing costs, rates, and how long it takes for a lender to close on a loan.

5. Start interviewing real estate agents. I can put you in touch with a great Realtor who will be able to talk about the kinds of features—benefits, bedrooms, bathrooms, locations, floor plans, and more—you want to be in the house that will be your home.

If you’re ready to grab a cup of coffee and talk about the home buying process and what you’ll need in order to be prepared in 2018, give me a call or shoot me an email. Have a great day and a great 2018.