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Crunch the Numbers: Scores, Down Payments, and Expenses

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When it comes to home-buying, numbers carry a lot of weight. The most influential number is your credit score which ranges from 300 to 850.

To prequalify for a mortgage, you’ll need a minimum score of 640. And to build a new home with a construction loan, you’ll need a minimum score of 680. The credit bureaus maintain up-to-date reports on these scores and if you’re not sure how you measure up, you can request a copy of your report from annualcreditreport.com. Family Trust also provides free credit reviews to members.

Good money management and knowing your numbers will not only help you save, but it will increase your home-buying power. The better your credit score, the lower the interest rate. And vise-versa – the higher your interest rate is, the more you pay for the loan.

Other “numbers” affecting your home-buying power:

  • Monthly Expenses – Having a good idea of your monthly household expenses (Yep, having a budget) will help you and mortgage lenders determine how much home you can afford.
  • Down payment – The amount of down payment money you have set aside can help. Most loan types require 3-5% down for primary residents. If you plan to get money from relatives, you’ll want to talk with your mortgage consultant.
  • Down Payment Assistance – Local down payment assistance programs are available and generally assist first-time home-buyers. The City of Rock Hill’s first-time home-buyers program is a great place to start if you plan to buy a home in Rock Hill. We also offer down payment assistance of up to $5,000 for qualified members.

While these factors can impact your buying power, maintaining a good credit score is still a first step. Beware of advertisements that guarantee to erase the bad and restore good credit. Magic wands to transform a low score into a high one do not exist, as with anything worth having; patience is key.

Once you know your credit score, the next step is prequalifying with a mortgage loan representative. Your home-buying power will be assessed to confirm how much you can afford to purchase or build.

When it comes to home-buying, remember, numbers carry a lot of weight. Focusing on good money management habits is a great exercise to increase credit scores and strengthened home-buying power.