Buying a home can be a rather daunting task. There is so much more involved than just packing your bags and finding your dream home. But, with preparation and dedication, becoming a homeowner can be a reality!
Simone Sibley, a licensed REALTOR® with Music City Experts, LLC, has a strong passion for empowering sustainability within communities. Specializing in compassionately educating and assisting first-time homebuyers, she loves meeting people and helping them understand that homeownership is far from impossible.
Simone is hosting a four part series, Leaving A Legacy Of Homeownership. One of the most important aspects when buying a home is your credit. Fittingly, the first part of Simone's series was all about knowing your credit. Did you miss it? Catch up on some of the takeaways here.
Guest speaker and Field Trainer/Credit Specialist from Financial Education Services, Robert Hall, highlighted some of the most important aspects to building, repairing, and maintaining good credit:
Improve Your Credit
A good to excellent credit score is key to finding the best deals on the market. No credit, bad credit? No worries. It is more than possible to build or repair your credit. There are several factors that determine your credit score. Focusing on these is a great way to help your score.
Do you pay your bills on-time? Do you currently have delinquent accounts on your credit report? The greatest portion of your score, 35%, comes from making your payments in a timely manner.
It's easy to get carried away with that shiny new credit card. Be careful to not max out your limit -- or even approach it -- if you want to keep your credit in pristine shape. Your usage makes up a whopping 30% of your score. The recommended credit utilization is no more than 30% of your total credit allowance. However, a lower utilization percentage around 10%-15% is preferable.
Breakdown. If you have a limit of $1000 and your balance is $500, you're utilizing 50% of your credit. This impacts your score! Watch how much you swipe or pay down your cards mid-billing cycle.
15% of your score is attributed to how long you've had credit lines. You can't control time, but make sure to start building credit as soon as possible. A credit card from a reputable bank is a great way to get started.
Watch out how often you apply for credit.
Many times banks or other lenders will initiate a hard credit report inquiry when you apply. A few inquiries on your report won't affect your score. However, if you start to accumulate numerous inquiries, especially in a short period of time, your score will likely take a ding. Lots of inquiries make you seem risky. 10% of your score comes from this category.
Do you only have credit cards? Or, what about a wallet full of department store cards? (Eeekk!) The final 10% of your score depends on what your credit mix looks like. In addition to cards, various loans (like student loans, car loans, personal loans, etc.), and mortgages contribute to your credit mix. Improve your score by adding a mix to your credit history -- just make sure you handle them responsibly.
Your credit is the most important factor in the road to homeownership. Use your credit lines responsibly to build and maintain a healthy credit score -- and eventually achieve the coveted 700+ score that will land you the best deals on the market.
Part 2 of the Leaving A Legacy Of Homeownership Series covers #FinancialHomePrep -- How to Budget & Debt Snowball into Your First Home. Follow Music City Experts and Simone on social media to stay updated.