Here are some tips that can help keep things “real” when meeting with a lender:
1. Check your credit! When is the last time you checked your credit scores and reports? Nothing can put a damper on purchasing a home more than a credit report with wrong information. When pulling your report, look for errors! Check the report for unpaid accounts or accounts reported as being in collection. Some credit cards supply free, monthly credit scores along with advice on how to make improvements. Some will even allow you a “what if” scenario and predict the effect on your credit score. Bottom line, if there is anything you can do to increase your score and solidify your credit, NOW is the time to do so – even before you meet with a lender.
2. Watch your spending! Once you have gotten your credit where it should be, KEEP it that way. That means doing whatever it takes to keep your lender’s pre-approval letter valid. And don’t even think about furniture or car shopping. Remember whatever sacrifices you feel you are making now will prove to be well worth it once you are handed the keys to your new home!
3. Needs vs. Wants: I knew a young man once that couldn’t wait to buy himself a big, bad truck. You know what I am talking about – sits high above the traffic; tires that could dig 3 feet into the dirt; an engine that rattles windows. About a year later, this young man finally understood the difference between “wants” and “needs” when he found himself having to sell it because he could no longer afford the gas it took to get him to work. Don’t make the same mistake when it comes to purchasing a home. Determine the difference between your “wants” and “needs”. It could save you untold years of stress as well as valuable resources!
It may take some time and lots of effort to get your financial situation in order, but doing so can be one of the most rewarding experiences as you head in the right direction toward home ownership!