Buying your own home is often considered the “American Dream”. In celebration of National Homeownership Month, here are our tips to get you started.
- Determine your goals and values. Are you ready for the responsibility of owning a home? Does your lifestyle support this dream? Are you able to, and do you enjoy, mowing the lawn and the other daily chores that accompany homeownership?
- Get the information you need. Understanding the home buying process can make purchasing a home less stressful. Attend Lutheran Social Services Consumer Credit Counseling Service’s Homebuyer Express class or meet one on one with a counselor for a pre-purchase session. You will learn the specific steps in the home purchase process, the different programs available to assist you, and tools for assessing your current financial position. Check out the Homebuyer Express schedule and give us a call at 888-258-2227 to register. (you may also e-mail us at cccs@LssSD.org)
- Make a plan. Understanding your financial situation is critical in the home purchase process. Review your monthly spending and decide how much money you can carve out to advance your goal. Set a plan and make homeownership a financial priority.
- Reduce your debt. Lenders compare your outstanding debt to your income to determine the amount of money you can borrow. Large debt balances will reduce your buying power and impact the interest rate you receive.
- Get copies of your credit report. Under the Fair and Accurate Credit Transaction Act, you are entitled to one free credit report each year from each of the three major credit reporting agencies. These free reports can be obtained from www.annualcreditreport.com or by calling 877-322-8228.
- Review your credit report for errors. Make sure information is complete, up-to-date and accurate before you contact a lender. If there are errors, correct them by submitting the proper form. The information on your credit report is used to determine if you will qualify for a mortgage loan. As a consumer, you can dispute any inaccurate items on your credit report directly with the credit bureau for free. (DO NOT pay someone to do this for you)
- Make good decisions. Negative information on a credit report cannot be erased if it is accurate. You can, however, make good decisions now that will make home purchase easier in the future. Pay debts on time to establish a positive payment history. Lower your debt load and build up a savings account.
- Make an appointment with a certified housing counselor. The certified housing counselors at CCCS‘ Housing Resource Center can review your goals, spending plan, and credit report with you. Their guidance will move you along the path to homeownership. Call 888-258-2227 or e-mail cccs@LssSD.org to make an appointment.