First Time Home Buyers and Credit: 6 Mistakes to Avoid

Dated: March 21 2022

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For seasoned investors and previous homeowners, they probably already know that one of the most crucial factors that affect the home purchase is the homebuyer’s credit. Having a strong credit can give the buyer an advantage when applying for a loan. It will determine whether or not your application will get approved and how much your interest rate will be.

When planning to buy a home, it is a basic requirement to check your credit. But most first time home buyers tend to overlook this step and commit mistakes regarding this matter. To let you do things differently, here are 6 credit mistakes that first time home buyers should avoid:

1. Not reviewing your credit report earlier

It is a common practice for home buyers to review their credit report. But some homebuyers fail to review their credit report early and end up not having enough time to fix the errors and concerns encountered. When you are seeing your credit report for the first time, some concerns that you may encounter may include wrong identification, wrong address information, or incorrectly reported accounts. These can have an impact on your credit score and can affect your mortgage application. Make sure to review your credit report early as these issues may take a while to be resolved. It is better to get everything resolved before you proceed with your loan application.

2. Not cleaning up your credit before applying for a loan

As mentioned in the previous point, all issues concerning your credit must be resolved before you proceed with your loan application. This includes cleaning up your credit. Unless you can purchase a home in cash, you will definitely be applying for a loan and the lenders will probably be looking at your credit score.

To have a good credit score, it is important to clear all debts, pay your bills on time. As soon as you think of buying your first home, whether it’s months or a few years away, the best thing that you can do aside from saving up is by making sure you maintain a good credit score. The earlier you start, the more time you have to fix your credit. You should aim for a higher credit score as it will give you a higher chance of getting approved for a mortgage with lower interest rates.

3. Not getting pre-approved before house hunting

Once you have identified how much you can afford for your first home, it doesn’t necessarily mean that you are ready for house-hunting. Setting your budget wouldn’t be enough for you to be able to find your first home. It would be easier to find a home and provide a proper offer if you have a pre-approval.

Getting pre-approved has a lot of advantages for buyers. For instance, sellers will be more likely to accept your offer as they will look at you as a serious buyer. Having a pre-approval is proof that you are capable of financing your property purchase. Hence, your credibility as a buyer will be an advantage when sellers assess the offers presented to them.

4. Accepting the first mortgage offer

Another credit mistake that first time homebuyers tend to commit is not looking at multiple lenders. If your credit score is not as good as you expect it to be, it might be tempting to accept the very first mortgage offer that you get approved for. However, this first mortgage offer might turn out to have a higher interest rate. As a result, you will end up paying more money in the long run. Keep in mind that accepting the first offer isn’t always the best decision when it comes to your mortgage.

Discuss with your real estate agent and identify what is the best strategy for you. If you do not have a very impressive credit score, evaluate your finances and assess how long you will be able to raise your credit score. If you think you can fix your credit score soon, giving yourself a few more months before you accept a mortgage might be a good strategy. This will give you time to improve what needs to be improved. In return, you’ll be able to save more money as you will get to receive mortgage offers with lower interest rates.

5. Ignoring first-time homebuyer programs

When you see those negative online reviews and actively avoid the red flags, nope, you’re doing it wrong! Research to access previous reviews from other homebuyers to cross-check the credibility of your target first-time homebuyer programs. You can also consult with your real estate agent. This helps you check the authenticity of the listing, considering the previous experiences of other first-time home buyers and the information from your agent. More importantly, this enables you to check if there are other first time homebuyer programs that you can reconsider before finalizing the purchase.

6. Opening credit during the underwriting process

While you are waiting for the closing of your property deal, you will definitely be excited about your move-in date. You have probably thought of the furniture that you will be purchasing for your home and how you will decorate your new home. This entails more expenses and you might have considered getting a new credit. However, you need to keep in mind that this isn’t a good idea. Your mortgage pre-approval is based on the current credit record and debt-to-income ratio by the time you applied. Hence, adding more credit can jeopardize your loan application and approval.

After all, these six mistakes can make or break your investment. By avoiding these six mistakes, you get to save more money and make the most out of your first real estate purchase. To ensure that you’re committing to the right choice, do not hesitate to reach out to your real estate agent. We will always be more than willing to help you make the right choices for your first real estate investment.

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Christin Carmichael Greb

Christin graduated University of Western Ontario with a bachelor’s degree in Political Science and has worked in various demanding roles ranging from law to aerospace and automotive. She later went ....

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