Start With Your Credit
Credit reports are kept by the three major credit agencies, Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion. Low credit scores may hurt your chances for getting the best interest rate, or getting financing at all. Federal law allows you to:
- Get a free copy of your credit report every 12 months from each credit reporting company at annualcreditreport.com.
- Ensure that the information on all of your credit reports is correct and up to date.
Meet with your lender to determine the type of loan and monthly payment that meets your needs. Most sellers require a pre-approval letter or proof of finances with an offer.
- Ask your lender to be pre-approved and get a pre-approval letter.
- Tell your lender NOT to run a “Hard Inquiry” because it can negatively affect your credit score.
Why Get Pre-Qualified?
1. Pre-qualification acts as a dry run of the loan application process. The mortgage lender will use details you provide about your credit, income, assets and debts to arrive at an estimate of how much mortgage you can afford. The whole process may take only minutes or a few hours at most, and is free.
2. While a "pre-qual" is non-binding to the lender (because the information you provide has not been verified), it does serve as a good indication to potential sellers of your general creditworthiness.
3. These days most sellers will NOT accept an offer without at least a pre-approval letter, so if you are serious about buying this is the first step towards getting you in your new home.