Want to be a home owner? You need to be aware if a few things financially before you get started. Here are a few.
As with any big purchase, knowing your credit score is important. You can get a free copy of your credit report from one of the big three reporting companies, or purchase a 3-in-1 credit report which will give you a report from all three. The three major credit bureaus are Equifax, TransUnion and Experian. If you find anything that is inaccurate, you should immediately start the dispute process.
Remember that the higher your score, the lower your interest rate will be. If there are no inaccuracies, you can move onto making sure you stay credit responsible.
So what, exactly, is being credit responsible? Start with don’t use your credit cards if you can help it. If you have balances on any credit cards, work on paying them down or off. Don’t make any big purchases while working on house hunting or while in the process of settling on a home.
So why is this important?
Most lenders want to see that you have a debt-to-income ratio that’s no more than 36 percent consistently.
Part of the process of applying for a mortgage involves providing financial documents. These documents will include: the last two paycheck stubs for all who are applying for the mortgage; W-2s for each applicant; tax returns for each applicant for the last two years; bank statements; proof of any income from any investments; and if anyone, such as friends or relatives, is gifting you money to help with a down payment, you will need letters from them documenting the gift.
If you are self-employed or work on a commission basis, the mortgage company will advise what they need, but you will need to provide proof of at least two years of income history.
Lastly, be realistic about what you can really afford to pay each month, keeping in mind that your mortgage payment will also include the monthly amounts of real estate taxes and homeowner’s insurance. Don’t mortgage yourself to the hilt and risk losing everything.