Credit Cards Center Credit cards from our partners

Buyer be prepared! 4 steps every first-time homebuyer must follow

first time

So, you’ve decided you want to buy your first home. So exciting! Congratulations! Okay, now what? So often I talk to first-time homebuyers and they know where they want to buy, what schools they want their kids to go to, the realtor they will be working with, but have no idea how they will pay for the home, and whether they can afford something in their chosen neighborhood. So, what should you do once you decide you are ready to buy your first home?   1. Understand how credit works – If you plan to finance your home purchase with a mortgage, it’s important to understand how credit works and the credit score you will need to get a reasonable mortgage rate. Remember that the higher your credit score, the lower (cheaper) your interest rate. Your FICO (Fair Isaac Corporation) credit … [Read more...]

The scores that count in mortgage lending

Blog-image-Scores-that-count

So you consider yourself a well-informed consumer. You have been educating yourself about credit scores, the credit process and how lenders evaluate credit for mortgage loan applications as you are getting ready to purchase a new home. And you already know that understanding your FICO Scores is really important as they are the credit scores most commonly used in the mortgage loan review process.   You’ve pulled your FICO® Scores and credit reports at myFICO to see where you stand, but are not sure on which FICO Score versions you should focus.  Do mortgage lenders use FICO® Score 8 from all three credit bureaus? Or FICO Score 8 from one and FICO® Score 5 from another? I know, it can be kind of confusing.   Let me explain …   When you access your credit … [Read more...]

Your guide to the different types of mortgages

BLOG---Credit-and-Loans---Your-Guide-to-the-Different-Types-of-Mortgages

Home buying is at once an extremely exciting and highly daunting process. One of the most important decisions you’ll need to make right at the start is choosing what type of mortgage to apply for. The first thing you’ll want to do is get familiar with the different types of mortgages so that you can apply for the one that’s right for you.   Common Rate Types   There are two mortgage rate types offered by financial institutions: Fixed-rate and adjustable-rate. Both have their pros and cons, and which type makes the most sense for you is dependent on your unique situation.   Fixed-rate mortgage   A fixed-rate mortgage allows you to choose the term of the mortgage (how long you want the mortgage to last), which is typically 15, 20 or 30 years. As … [Read more...]

Do you know if your HELOC is about to reset?

blog-HELOC

If you don’t, you should look into this sooner rather than later.     During the housing boom of the mid 2000s many people took out home equity lines of credit (HELOCs) for greater financial flexibility, to have as a safety net, or as a means to avoid property mortgage insurance (PMI) by enabling them to make a 20% down payment on a home purchase.     And why not? Interest rates were very low and the process for getting approved was fairly easy for many consumers.     Many of the HELOCs opened at this time featured an interest-only period of 5,7 or 10 years followed by either a balloon payment at maturity or an amortization period requiring monthly payments of principal and interest.     What this means “in plain … [Read more...]

Mortgage Tips: 9 Ways to Lower Your Monthly Payment

blog-ways-to-lower-your-mortgage-payments

We often hear information on how homeowners can use tactics like refinancing to lower their mortgage payments. But what about homebuyers? What tactics can you use to ensure you start out with the lowest possible mortgage payment?     Luckily, there’s quite a bit you can do as a homebuyer to keep your mortgage payments low. Here are just 9 ideas to get you started:     1. Boost your credit score     Your credit score is a big determining factor in your mortgage’s APR. And even a tiny difference in APR has a big impact on monthly payments (as well as interest paid over the life of your loan).     According to this FICO chart, average interest rates on a 30-year fixed mortgage range from 4.004% to 5.593% right now, … [Read more...]

10 Tips for Real Estate Auctions

shutterstock_92578045

This article originally appeared on HSH.com.   The traditional idea that real estate auctions are only for bargain-basement foreclosures or million-dollar mansions has changed in recent years. These days, all types of homes are sold at auctions.   No matter what type of property you buy at an auction, you need to be aware that you're purchasing "as-is, where-is," without the option of asking the seller to make repairs or wait while you sell your current home, says Fontana Fitzwilson, executive vice president of Williams, Williams and McKissick in Tulsa, Okla.   "Buyers may not always get a bargain at an auction, but auction sellers are often willing to sell at or below market price in exchange for a non-negotiable, non-contingent contract from a highly … [Read more...]

Homebuyer 2.0: New market, new rules

iStock_familly and houseSmall

By Michele Lerner   In the ever changing world of real estate, many housing markets have subtly shifted from a buyer's market to a seller's market. Homebuyers who once had the upper hand are now competing for properties in many markets.   Increased competition means homebuyers need to be more prepared than ever. Today's homebuyers also need to know exactly what they want and need in a home before they start looking. Experts say this is a return to the traditional way of judging a home's value.   According to the National Association of Realtors, national housing inventory declined again in November to 2.03 million existing homes for sale, which represents a 4.8 month supply of homes at the current sales pace. This is the lowest housing supply since … [Read more...]

Fannie Mae Wants You to Know Your Options

Fannie Mae Wants You to Know Your Options

If you're looking for help on your current mortgage, you probably wouldn’t think of turning to Fannie Mae. Although it’s a giant in the real estate industry, Fannie Mae has always focused more on lenders and securities, and less on individual homeowners.  So I was thrilled to learn that Fannie Mae just launched a new website for people struggling to pay their mortgage. The site helps visitors clearly understand their options so they know what to do to stay in their homes. I highly recommend it.   In their website’s resources , Fannie Mae emphasizes the importance that FICO credit scores have in loan decisions. They address the impact that foreclosure and related actions can have to a person’s FICO score. And they link visitors back here to myFICO if they want a better … [Read more...]

Disclaimer: This content is not provided or commissioned by a credit card issuer. Opinions expressed here are the author's alone, not those of a credit card issuer, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by a credit card issuer. This site may be compensated by credit card issuers mentioned on the site by such companies.