5 Tips for Establishing Credit

3911844_m

If you dream of one-day owning your own home, you’ll most likely need to finance its purchase. Mortgage lenders will want to review your credit history to evaluate whether or not you’re a worthy borrower. So how do you get started establishing a credit history? Here are four ideas for you to get you started:

Open a bank account
Open a bank account and use it responsibly. This is the first step in establishing a financial history.

Get a co-signer
A good way to establish credit is to piggy-back on someone who already has good credit history established and is willing to co-sign, but be aware that any default of credit on your part affects the credit of the co-signer.

Secured Credit Card
Apply for a credit card. Shop around and only apply for a card if you can meet the lender’s requirements. Responsible use will help you build a good credit history. Pay all your bills by their respective due dates and always pay over the minimum amount due.

Use Your Credit Cards
Your credit score is highly based upon the ratio of debt to you incur to your total credit line and your ability to pay that debt on time so using your credit cards will establish examples of this. Try to keep the ratios low by paying your debt down every month. And NEVER EVER close a credit card, even if you don’t use it. It will count towards your total credit line.

Department store and gasoline credit cards
Since gasoline credit cards are not revolving (cannot carry a balance forward month-to-month), often they are easier to obtain than regular credit cards. Similarly, some department stores offer revolving credit for a specific purchase and this is easier to obtain. It is also a good way to establish credit.

If you’d like to chat more about steps you can take now that will help make your dream of homeownership a reality, I’d be happy to offer my expert advice. Just give me a call.

Advertisements

What Your Lender Needs to Know (and what not to do during the home buying process)

buy-home1When you are buying a home the first thing you need to do is get pre-approved. This is different from pre-qualifying as it is a full loan approval instead of simply an opinion letter of your creditworthiness. Its is best that you take this step before looking at homes as finding out what you qualify for will help you look in the right price range and avoid disappointment. On the flip side, you might be able to look at more expensive homes than you originally thought possible.

Here are some things your lender will need (and need you to do or not to do) during the application and escrow process):

1) All funds used for the downpayment and closing costs need to be carefully scrutinized by your lender.

  • You must provide detailed and accurate information to show which accounts the funds are in and where the funds are coming from.
  • You must document the source of any funds that have been in your accounts for less than 2 months.
  • Any changes that occur to your financial condition will need to be explained to the lender.
  • Changes to your assets, employment, income or credit scores during the escrow process could jeopardize your ability to obtain a loan.
  • Provide complete documents – all pages!
  • Provide documents with names, addresses and account numbers.

2) Things not to do during the escrow process:

  • Do not transfer funds from one bank account to another.
  • Do not make unusual large deposits into your bank account or you will need to provide documentation for the source of any deposits.
  • Do not buy a car just prior to buying a house of during the escrow process.
  • Do not spend large sums of money buying furniture or appliances.
  • Do not change jobs.
  • Do not apply for new credit cards.
  • Do not close existing credit cards.

3) The lender is going to require a letter of explanation and/or support documentation for:

  • Recent inquiries on your credit report.
  • Derogatory items on your credit report.
  • Recent deposits into your bank account.
  • Recent transfers of money from one account to another.
  • Evidence earnest money deposit has cleared your account.

4) If you are receiving gift funds the lender will require:

  • A gift letter signed by you and the gift donor.
  • Evidence of the donors ability to gift the funds – a bank statement.
  • Evidence of the receipt of the gift funds – a copy of the check or wire.
  • Evidence of the funds being received into your account.

If you have questions or are looking for a wonderful lender, give me a call today at (408) 410-2060!

7 Things You Should NOT do when Applying for a Home Loan

1) Don’t buy or lease an auto – Lenders look carefully at your debt-to-income ratio. A large payment such as a car lease or purchase can greatly impact those ratios and prevent you from qualifying for a home loan.

2) Don’t move assets from one bank account to another –  These transfers show up as new deposits and complicate the application process as you must then disclose and document the source of funds for each new account. The lender can verify each account as it currently exists. You can consolidate your accounts later if necessary.

3) Don’t change jobs – A new job may involve a probation period, which must be satisfied before income from the new job can be considered for qualifying purposes.

4) Don’t buy new furniture or major appliances with a credit card – If the new purchases increase the amount of debt you are responsible for on a monthly basis, there is a possibility this may disqualify you from getting the loan or even cut down the amount of available funds for closing costs.

5) Be aware of who runs your credit report – This will show as an inquiry on your lender’s credit report. Inquiries must be explained in writing.

6) Don’t attempt to consolidate bills before speaking with your lender – The loan officer can advise you if this needs to be done.

7) Don’t pack of ship information needed for the loan application – Important paperwork such as W-2 forms, divorce decrees and tax returns should not be sent with your household goods. Duplicate copies take weeks to obtain, and could stall the closing date on your transaction.

If you need help finding a reliable & reputable lender, give me a call! I have some fantastic lenders I can refer you to to qualify you for buying a new home.

$26 billion Foreclosure Settlement Could Mean Relief for Underwater Homeowners

If you are underwater on your home or were foreclosed upon between 2008 and 2011 there could be some relief coming your way according to an article from CNNMoney today. Federal and state officials have agreed to a $26 billion settlement of potential state charges of home seizures made without required paperwork and improper foreclosure practices based on robosigning by the five largest lenders in the country – Bank of America, JP Morgan Chase, Citigroup, Wells Fargo and Ally Financial.

About $17 billion will be used to reduce the principal for underwater homeowners and could mean a reduction for as many as 1 million people. While this is a start, the average reduction would be about $17,000, so might not go a long way in assisting those upside down on their mortgages. In addition, about 750,000 homeowners who are current on their mortgages will be able to refinance their loans to take advantage of the current record-low interest rates. About $1.5 billion will also go to homeowners foreclosed upon between 2008 and 2011 and who meet other criteria. They will be eligible to receive $2,000 for charges of robosigning.

Negotiations are underway to expand the current settlement to nine other servicers, potentially expanding the settlement to $30 billion.

It is important to note that even though a homeowner may accept settlement from the bank, it does not inhibit their ability to file criminal prosecution charges against the bank.