10 smart tips for Buying a home: Buyer’s guide

1. Start with your credit. Credit reports are kept by the three major credit agencies, Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion. They show whether you are habitually late with payments and whether you have run into serious credit problems in the past. A credit score is a number calculated from a formula created by Fair Isaac based on the information in your credit report. A low credit score may hurt your chances for getting the best interest rate, or getting financing at all. So get a copy of your reports and know your credit scores. Try Fair Isaac’s MyFICO.com.
2. Set your budget. Next, you need to determine how much house you can afford. You can start with an online calculator. For a more accurate figure, ask to be pre-approved by a lender, who will look at your income, debt and credit to determine the kind of loan that’s in your league. 
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