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Buying a Home But Have a Low Credit Score? Here's How to Fix It

by Bienek Properties of Sonoma 12/17/2018

It’s hard to overstate the importance of credit scores when it comes to buying a home. Along with your down payment, your credit score is a deciding factor of getting approved and securing a low interest rate.

Credit can be complicated. And, if you want to buy a home in the near future, it can seem daunting to try and increase your score while saving for a down payment.

However, it is possible to significantly increase your score in the months leading up to applying for a loan.

In today’s post, we’re going to talk about some ways to give your credit score a quick boost so that you can secure the best rate on your mortgage.

Should I focus on increasing my score or save for a down payment?

If you’re planning on buying a home, you might be faced with a difficult decision: to pay off old debt or to save a larger down payment.

As a general rule, it’s better to pay off smaller loans and debt before taking out larger loans. If you have multiple loans that you’re paying off that are around the same balance, focus on whichever one has the highest interest rate.

If you have low-interest loans that you can easily afford to continue paying while you save, then it’s often worth saving more for a down payment.

Remember that if you are able to save up 20% of your mortgage, you’ll be able to avoid paying PMI (private mortgage insurance). This will save you quite a bit over the span of your loan.

Starting with no credit

If you’ve avoided loans and credit cards thus far in your life but want to save for a home, you might run into the issue of not having a credit history.

To confront this issue, it’s often a good idea to open a credit card that has good rewards and use it for your everyday expenses like groceries. Then, set up the card to auto-pay the balance in full each month to avoid paying interest.

This method allows you to save money (you’d have to buy groceries and gas anyway) while building credit.

Correct credit report errors

Each of the main credit bureaus will have a slightly different method for calculating your credit score. Their information can also vary.

Each year, you’re entitled to one free report from each of the main bureaus. Take advantage of these free reports. They’re different from free credit checks that you can get from websites like Credit Karma because they’re much more detailed.

Go through the report line by line and make sure there aren’t any accounts you don’t recognize. It is not uncommon for people to find out that a scammer or even a family member has taken out a line of credit in their name.

Avoid opening several new accounts

Our final tip for boosting your credit score is to avoid opening up multiple accounts in the 6 months leading up to your mortgage application.


Opening multiple accounts is a red flag to lenders. It can show that you might be in a time of financial hardship and can temporarily lower your score.

About the Author

Author
Bienek Properties of Sonoma

Vince and Mary are well-respected by their REALTOR peers in Sonoma's Wine County for their hard work, dedication and integrity. They are passionate about real estate and have a proven track record of exceeding the needs and goals of their clientele. Vince and Mary work as a team. Together, they make up one of the most successful teams in Sonoma County. They specialize in applying their expertise and market knowledge to consistently meet and exceed the needs and goals of their clients. Vince and Mary work with sellers, buyers and investors in both residential and commercial markets.

They have built a reputation for tenacity and protecting the interests and investments of their clients. Vince attended Oral Roberts University in Tulsa, OK, where he studied Business Administration. As a collegiate baseball player, Vince helped lead Oral Roberts University to their only appearance in the College World Series in 1978. After college, Vince played professional baseball for five years in the Chicago White Sox Organization. Vince has a strong background in sales, sales management and the building products industry. As part of his sales management experience, Vince successfully negotiated national contracts with the top 20 builders in the United States. These skill sets have enabled him to be a strong asset for his clients. Mary attended college at the University of Kentucky before completing her BS in Sociology at California State University, San Bernardino.

Mary has been in the business of helping people make the "move" to their next landing place for many years. Be it a home across town or across the country, Mary has paved the way for many buyers and sellers to transition into the next phase of their lives. Vince and Mary are also active volunteers in the Sonoma Valley. They volunteer at Relay for Life, Vintage Festival, Sonoma Film Festival, as well as The Boys and Girls Club of Sonoma Valley. They have a passion for the community they live and work in.