Is becoming a home owner one of your resolutions for 2019? Read on to learn a few ways you can make it happen, so you can reap the benefits of home ownership this year and in the years to come.
Get Acquainted with Your Credit Score
If you have been considering buying a house, your credit has likely been high on your priority list. Your credit score and credit history are among the main ways your lender will determine if you are a candidate for a mortgage and what kind of terms you will receive. To buy a home in 2019, review your credit report for any errors. If you find any, like accounts that are not yours or other mistakes, report them and have them removed. Once you have an idea of what your credit looks like, you can work to improve it. Some great ways to do that include:
- Don’t open or close any lines of credit. The length of your credit history is important, and you also don’t want any new inquiries into your credit while you’re trying to increase your credit score.
- Keep your credit card balances low. Having a low balance helps you keep your credit utilization ratio under control.
- Pay all your bills on time. While this is a given any time, when you are working to improve your credit to buy a home, it is important to pay all your debts when they are due.
Boost Your Savings
One of the biggest expenses you will ever pay up front is the down payment on your home. While 20 percent may seem daunting, the good news is that with many mortgages, you can purchase a home with much less than that. In fact, the NC Home Advantage Mortgage™ from the NC Housing Finance Agency offers down payment assistance of up to 5 percent for qualified buyers. And if you’re a first-time buyer or military veteran, you may be eligible for the NC 1st Home Advantage Down Payment, which provides an $8,000 boost. Keep in mind, though, that a small down payment means a larger monthly mortgage payment. Decide how much you want to save for your down payment, closing costs and other fees and start putting a little aside each month to cover it. With enough time and discipline, you can have a healthy amount in savings to allow you to buy the perfect home in 2019.
Start Building Your Home Buying Team
Buying a home can be a complex and stressful process, but the good news is you don’t have to go it alone. Building the right team to help you is key to having smooth sailing when you buy a home. Ask friends and family who have bought homes in the area who their real estate agent was and if they had a good experience. If you’re having trouble finding the right real estate agent, the NC Housing Finance Agency offers a listing of preferred agents who are trained in the Agency’s mortgage products and who can help you find the right home for you. Your lender is also one of the key players on your team, and it is important to shop around for mortgages to ensure that you get the best rates. If you need a good place to start, the Agency offers a listing of participating lenders who offer our mortgage products. Other members of your home buying team can include:
- Real estate attorney
- Closing agent
- Home inspector
If you’ve done all the above, you’re ready to start your home search. While buying a home in 2019 might seem daunting, the NC Housing Finance Agency has resources to help make it easier. Check out all of our resources at www.nchfa.com/home-buyers.