Waiting to buy a home may cost you more if rates go up in the meantime, but that's not guaranteed. Whether you decide to buy now or wait, your best option is to improve your credit score as soon as possible and save yourself thousands of dollars in the long run.
Generally, the higher the credit score, the better the interest rate. Still, lenders can impose their own credit requirements, which means your credit score must be in good shape before you buy. Read: Best Mortgage Lenders. ]
Great credit takes time
You should allow anywhere from six months to a year to really optimize your score. This will give you the best shot at building credit to buy a house (and doing so affordably).
It's a great idea to start working on improving your credit score several months before you apply for a big loan, whether you are buying a house, refinancing or buying a car. Boosting your score could help you qualify for a lower loan rate and save you thousands of dollars over the life of the loan.
If you're planning to buy a home this year, we recommend checking your credit reports and scores as soon as possible. The better your credit history, the more likely you are to receive a good interest rate on your mortgage loan.
A 750 credit score generally falls into the “excellent” range, which shows lenders that you're a very dependable borrower. People with credit scores within this range tend to qualify for loans and secure the best mortgage rates. A 750 credit score could help you: Qualify for a mortgage.
A conventional loan requires a credit score of at least 620, but it's ideal to have a score of 740 or above, which could allow you to make a lower down payment, get a more attractive interest rate and save on private mortgage insurance.
For many home buyers, paying down a line of credit may improve the borrower's TDS. By paying off the line of credit, their debt-to-income ratio drops, and this increases the amount they can borrow on a mortgage. In other words, paying down a line of credit can increase your mortgage affordability.
You don't need sparkling credit scores.
FICO® Scores☉ of at least 640 or so are typically all that are needed to qualify for first-time homebuyer assistance. FICO® Scores range from 300 to 850. But chances are you may need higher credit scores of around 680 or so to qualify for a conventional mortgage.
It will take about six months of credit activity to establish enough history for a FICO credit score, which is used in 90% of lending decisions. 1 FICO credit scores range from 300 to 850, and a score of over 700 is considered a good credit score. Scores over 800 are considered excellent.
Give it some time
But it also suggests that building credit takes time and patience, as you need to establish a track record of financial responsibility. In fact, reaching an excellent credit score of 750+ generally takes 5 or more years.
If you have a credit score in the 500s, your best chance for a home loan will be one insured by the Federal Housing Administration. FHA loans allow down payments as low as 3.5%, but to qualify, you'll need a FICO score of 580 or better.
To purchase a $300K house, you may need to make between $50,000 and $74,500 a year. This is a rule of thumb, and the specific salary will vary depending on your credit score, debt-to-income ratio, the type of home loan, loan term, and mortgage rate.
Generally speaking, you'll need a credit score of at least 620 in order to secure a loan to buy a house. That's the minimum credit score requirement most lenders have for a conventional loan.
It's better to put 20 percent down if you want the lowest possible interest rate and monthly payment. But if you want to get into a house now and start building equity, it may be better to buy with a smaller down payment — say 5 to 10 percent down.
The credit scores and reports you see on Credit Karma should accurately reflect your credit information as reported by those bureaus. This means a couple of things: The scores we provide are actual credit scores pulled from two of the major consumer credit bureaus, not just estimates of your credit rating.
Having a credit score over 800 isn't just good. According to the FICO credit scoring system, it's exceptional. Although both the FICO and VantageScore credit scoring systems go all the way up to 850, you actually don't need to hit 850 to reap the same benefits as those with a perfect credit score.
If you're getting a mortgage, a smart way to buy a house is to save up at least 25% of its sale price in cash to cover a down payment, closing costs and moving fees. So if you buy a home for $250,000, you might pay more than $60,000 to cover all of the different buying expenses.
Before closing, do not spend an additional amount of money on anything unnecessary. Make sure all bills are current and not delinquent. Although the loan may only be listed under one account, the bank looks at all accounts. If you need help improving your credit score, make sure to read this guide.
Buying a car also adds to your debt load, which can make you appear to be a riskier borrower. That could mean mortgage lenders are less likely to approve you for a mortgage loan. And, if you take on a large debt such as a car loan, you might be less able to afford the payment on the home you really want.