Paula Lopes' Blog
Having a high credit score is one of the most important and helpful things you can achieve before buying a home. A solid credit history will give you a better chance of being approved for the home loan you want and getting a lower interest rate so that you know you’re getting a good deal on your first home.
But, as any renter can tell you, it can sometimes be difficult to lift your credit score when you’ve got so many other things to worry about.
In today’s post, I’m going to cover the best ways to build credit while renting an apartment so you can lift your score to an amount that will help you achieve your goal of homeownership.
1. Take over the bills
If you live with roommates or with your family, one good way to start building your credit score is to simply put more bills in your name.
If you’re certain that you’ll be able to make on-time payments on them each month, this can be a way to boost your score without much thought.
Keep in mind, however, that not all utility companies report your payments to credit bureaus, so it’s a good idea to check that yours does before putting the bills in your name.
2. Become an authorized user
If taking out new credit isn’t an option for you, becoming an authorized user on someone else’s credit account can help you increase your score.
Be sure to find out whether the credit issuer reports payments for authorized users before taking this step. And, once you’re sure that they do, you can be added to the account without changing anything about your spending.
3. Convince your landlord to report your rental payments
In most cases, rental payments aren’t reported to the credit bureaus. However, it is becoming more common. Check to see if your landlord uses a service like PayYourRent or RentTrack. If not, consider asking them to try it out.
4. Solving the “no credit” problem
Since we all start off with a blank slate in terms of credit history, some renters have the issues of not having enough credit information to start building their score.
If this is the case, it might be a good idea to open your first credit account. But, wait! Before you start racking up debt on your first credit card, take a minute to make a wise plan.
First, don’t change your spending habits just because you have credit. Pick a card that offers rewards in the form of cash back, and only use your card for things like gas and groceries that will help you earn points.
Then, set your card to auto-pay in full each month so that you never start accruing interest. This way, you’ll build your credit score and earn money (in the form of rewards or cash back), making it a win-win.
If you know you’d like to buy a home in the future, you’ve probably thought about saving money for all of the upfront costs that buying a home can bring. Saving the sizable amount of money that it takes for a down payment can be seemingly impossible to do. It’s impossible without making yourself seem miserable for a time, at least. You can save money creatively without sacrificing everything. Below, you’ll find some tips for saving money that work for your life.
Put Your Money Somewhere Safe
While investing in the stock market may seem like a good idea to put your savings on hyperdrive, it’s risky. When it comes to your savings, try high interest savings accounts and CDs. The latter is a particularly good option because you won’t be able to touch the money for the time period that the CD will mature. You’ll also earn a bit of interest on the funds that are in there.
If you plan to keep adding to your savings (which you should) a traditional savings account is best. You should have a dedicated account that’s solely for the house fund. Do some shopping around for the savings account that will have the best interest rate and be the easiest option for you. Remember that as boring as a savings account seems, it’s a safe bet for your money.
Apps Can Assist You
There are plenty of budgeting apps and apps that help you to set aside spare change. You should make use of these tools to help you reach your savings goals. Whether you need some help with budgeting or need to find ways to put your spare change to good use, there’s an app for that. You can even find apps that will reward you for good behavior. These apps may “tip” you a few bucks for going to the gym or completing a project on time. You’re saving money and doing good for yourself at the same time! Saving money for your future home can be fun if you find the right tools to help you.
One reason that many people don’t save a lot of money is that they lack specific goals. If you sit down and look at your budget, you’ll see where you can cut expenses. Then, you’ll be able to have clear cut goals of how much you can save on a weekly or monthly basis. With your eyes on the prize of homeownership, you should be motivated to save where you can. Having specific numbers in mind can be a big help in reaching your long-term goals.
If you want to own a home, it may be a good idea to enter the housing market sooner rather than later. That way, you can go from homebuyer to homeowner in no time at all.
Ultimately, there are three steps to buy a home:
1. Conduct an Extensive Home Search
The home search, aka "the fun part" of the homebuying journey, enables you to select a residence that matches or exceeds your expectations.
During a home search, you'll want to attend open houses and home showings. These events will allow you to take an up-close look at a variety of residences.
Of course, don't forget to check out many home listings as well. These listings offer lots of details about a home and can help you differentiate an ordinary residence from your "dream" house.
You also may want to get pre-approved for a mortgage before you kick off your home search. If you receive pre-approval for a mortgage, you can enter the real estate market with a budget in hand and narrow your home search accordingly.
2. Submit an Offer
If you find a house that you want to own, there is no need to wait to submit an offer. Because the longer that you hesitate to make a proposal, the more likely it becomes that a rival homebuyer will swoop in and acquire your dream house.
Prior to submitting a home offer, it often helps to conduct plenty of housing market research. Look at the prices of recently sold houses that are comparable to the residence that you'd like to buy. Then, you can put together a competitive offer that accounts for a house's condition as well as the current state of the housing market.
It is important to note that a seller has the right to accept, reject or counter your home offer. But if you submit a competitive initial offer on a house, you can increase the likelihood of an instant "Yes."
3. Finalize Your Purchase
After a home seller accepts your offer, it may be only a few weeks until you finalize your home purchase. At this time, you'll want to conduct a home inspection to identify any potential problem areas and address such issues as soon as possible.
When it comes to buying a home, there is no need to forgo a home inspection. If you fail to complete an inspection, you risk buying a house that has underlying issues that you may need to mitigate down the line.
In the weeks leading up to closing day, you will want to have a trusted real estate advisor at your disposal. Fortunately, real estate agents are available who can help you discover a great home and streamline the process of getting to closing day.
A real estate agent is happy to keep you up to date throughout the homebuying cycle. And if you ever have homebuying concerns or questions, this housing market professional is happy to address them.
Purchase your perfect home – use the aforementioned steps, and you can make your homeownership dreams come true.
As a first-time homebuyer, it is important to understand what it takes to discover your dream residence as quickly as possible. By doing so, you can streamline the process of going from homebuyer to homeowner.
What does it take for a first-time homebuyer to seamlessly navigate the housing market? Here are three tips that every first-time homebuyer needs to know.
1. Make a Homebuying Checklist
The definition of the "perfect" house differs from homebuyer to homebuyer. As such, a first-time homebuyer should allocate the necessary time and resources to determine what he or she wants to find in the ideal home. That way, a first-time homebuyer will have no trouble finding a house that matches or surpasses his or her expectations.
With a homebuying checklist, a first-time homebuyer can move one step closer to making his or her property ownership dreams come true. This checklist can help a homebuyer differentiate between home "must-haves" and "wants" so he or she can narrow a home search accordingly.
Furthermore, a first-time homebuyer can update a property buying checklist as he or she begins to check out houses. And if a homebuyer evaluates available residences, this property buyer can update his or her checklist as needed.
2. Get Pre-Approved for a Mortgage
A first-time homebuyer likely wants to purchase a house as quickly as possible. Fortunately, getting pre-approved for a mortgage can help a homebuyer move through the property buying process without delay.
To get pre-approved for a mortgage, a first-time homebuyer should try to meet with several banks and credit unions. Each meeting will allow a homebuyer to learn about assorted mortgage options and select a mortgage that corresponds to his or her finances.
Moreover, a first-time homebuyer should be unafraid to ask plenty of questions when he or she meets with potential lenders. This will allow a homebuyer to make an informed decision about a mortgage.
3. Consult with a Real Estate Agent
When it comes to buying a house for the first time, a homebuyer should seek out expert support. Lucky for you, many real estate agents are available nationwide, and these housing market professionals can make it simple for you to purchase your ideal house.
A real estate agent understands the challenges associated with buying a house for the first time. He or she will teach a first-time homebuyer about these challenges and ensure this property buyer is prepared to take a diligent approach to purchasing a home.
Typically, a real estate agent will set up home showings, offer honest, unbiased homebuying recommendations and negotiate with home sellers on a homebuyer's behalf. This housing market professional will even keep a homebuyer up to date about new houses, ensuring homebuyers can pounce on opportunities to acquire great houses as soon as they become available.
For a first-time homebuyer, there is no need to leave anything to chance. But with the aforementioned tips, a first-time homebuyer can accelerate the homebuying process and improve his or her chances of purchasing a stellar house at an affordable price.
If you want to buy your dream house in the near future, you likely will need to put together a competitive offer to purchase. That way, you can boost the likelihood of receiving an immediate "Yes" from a property seller after you submit your homebuying proposal.
Ultimately, it helps to know what differentiates a competitive homebuying proposal from a lowball one. If a homebuyer understands what to offer for a residence, he or she should have no trouble purchasing the right residence at the right price.
To better understand how to acquire your dream house at the lowest-possible price, let's take a look at three tips to help you determine what to offer for a residence.
1. Study the Housing Market Closely
The housing market experiences ebbs and flows. Therefore, a real estate sector that favors homebuyers one day may favor home sellers the next. And if you fail to learn about the current state of the real estate market, you may struggle to put together a competitive offer to purchase your ideal residence.
Analyze the prices of available houses in your area, the prices of recently sold houses in your preferred cities and towns and other housing market data. With this information in hand, you can find out whether you're operating in a buyer's or seller's market. Then, you can craft an offer to purchase your dream residence that accounts for the present state of the real estate market.
2. Weigh the Pros and Cons of Your Dream Home
No house is perfect, and even your dream home may have its fair share of flaws. Fortunately, a homebuyer who assesses the pros and cons of a house may be better equipped than ever before to submit a competitive offer to purchase this residence.
If you view a house multiple times, you can learn about all aspects of this home and assess any property damage. After you obtain these home insights, you can create a competitive offer to purchase that accounts for the house's current condition.
3. Collaborate with a Real Estate Agent
When it comes to purchasing a house at a price that matches your expectations, it generally is beneficial to work with a real estate agent. This housing market professional will do everything possible to help you buy your dream home at a price that fits your budget.
A real estate agent understands the ins and outs of the real estate sector and can help you map out a successful homebuying strategy. He or she first will offer insights into available homes in your preferred cities and towns. Next, when you find your dream residence, a real estate agent will help you craft a competitive homebuying proposal. And if your offer to purchase is accepted, a real estate agent will make it easy to navigate the final steps of the homebuying journey.
Ready to streamline your quest for your ideal house? Use the aforementioned tips, and you can improve your chances of acquiring your dream home at a price that you can afford.