First Time Home Buying
Save for a Down Payment and Closing Costs
To buy a house, you’ll need enough to cover a down payment and closing costs. Typically, that’s at least tens of thousands of dollars. Saving up that much for a house can feel overwhelming, but it’s more straightforward when you have a plan.
The median down payment among all homebuyers in 2021 was 12%, according to a National Realtors Association (NAR) survey. But if you can, you should really put 20% down on a house, according to Bernadette Joy, founder of Crush Your Money Goals and contributor to NextAdvisor. With a 20% down payment, you’ll build equity faster, pay lower monthly payments because you’re financing less, and you can avoid private mortgage insurance (PMI) — an extra cost your lender tacks on to your monthly payment when you don’t put 20% down.
At a minimum, you should be prepared to put at least 3.5% down, which is the requirement for many government-backed loans.
Check Your Credit Score and Credit Report
Your credit score plays a big role in buying a house. It tells lenders how risky you are to lend money to, which determines what loans and interest rates you qualify for.
Generally, a credit score of 620 or more will help you qualify for better loan terms. You may be able to qualify for a mortgage with a credit score less than 600, but a lower credit score will often lead to a higher interest rate, raising the cost of borrowing.
You’ll see the lowest interest rates and most favorable terms with credit scores closer to 850, a perfect credit score. You can usually access your credit score for free through your credit card company — check your monthly bank statement or log into your account online to see what your score is before you apply for a mortgage.
Aside from your credit score, be sure to check your credit report as well. Your credit report is a full record of your credit history, from new credit applications to late or missed payments. If you notice any errors on your credit report, dispute them with the credit bureaus promptly.
You can check your credit score for free at AnnualCreditReport.com.
Make Sure You’re Not Tied to a Lease
If you’re a renter thinking about buying a new home, you’ll need to plan accordingly. That means you’ll either need to wait until your lease is up or break your lease early. Breaking your lease early could result in stiff fines and penalties, if your landlord allows you to at all.
Crossland Title Inc. is a Knoxville title agency providing full-service real estate title solutions. Crossland Title Inc. makes your closing seem effortless.
With more than 38 years of experience in the real estate and title business, owners Pam Rice and Beth Crox have built their reputations upon the virtues of personal service and integrity. They believe that reputation as an honest and reliable business is the recipe for success.