Ann Bennett - KELLER WILLIAMS REALTY / Metropolitan



Posted by Ann Bennett on 1/24/2019

It's easy to get stuck without a mortgage approval or with a smaller home loan than you want, just because you don't understand how your credit score works. Most of the things you've done to prepare: budgeting your income, balancing your bank accounts and saving up for a down payment, aren't reflected in your FICO credit score. It doesn't even show how much you can afford.

So whatís the point of your credit score?

It tells your lender what youíve done with your previous credit. Whether anyone has been willing to lend you money, how long youíve kept it and whether you pay it back on time. They keep the actual algorithm at FICO secret, but there are two main factors that you can affect.

Late Payments

These are easy to understand and fix. Ready? Pay them on time. Thatís it. Each time you are late on a debt payment, whether itís a credit card, school loan, mortgage, or car loan it dings your credit score. Thatís the easy part. Now for some finance math.

Debt to Credit Ratio

Surprisingly, you are in complete control of this part of your score too. While it sounds like this is a ratio of how much you owe to how much you make, it's not. The debt-to-credit ratio shows how much you owe based on how much credit you currently have available. That means if you have a $5000 credit card, and your friend has a $2000 credit card, and you both OWE $2000, you will have a higher score than your friend because your ratio ($2000/$5000) is lower than hers ($2000/$2000). The higher this ratio gets, the less likely lenders are to give you more credit. Most professionals suggest you try to keep your usage below 30%. That means your balance on that $5000 credit card should stay below $1500. This practice works better for you as well, keeping some cushion in your accounts for emergencies.

Managing your Debt-to-Credit Ratio

There are a few tricks beyond merely using less of your credit to help keep this number under control. First off, pay off as much of your debt as possible. You want to keep that used debt down as low as possible when trying to apply for new debt. Second, don't close your paid-off accounts. While it may seem like the optimal thing to do, remember that total credit number? You want to keep that number high so that your used credit appears lower. So, you've paid off that credit card? Great! Now chop it up or put it in a hidden drawer and keep that available credit without using it. Lastly, be careful about opening new accounts. While it lowers your debt-to-credit ratio as long as you donít actually spend from them, your score also reflects the age of your accounts. The longer ago you applied for and got credit, the more likely it is you will qualify for new credit. Donít waste that new credit qualification on anything else besides your home loan.

Want to know the best lenders to apply with once you've got the best score? Ask your real estate agent for their top recommendations for your situation and use their expertise to ease the qualification process.





Posted by Ann Bennett on 12/13/2018

Buying a home that works for both seniors and young children can be complicated, if not impossible. When searching for a new home, itís important to keep in mind the special requirements for every member of your family both now, and as they continue to age.

Parents or other older relatives may need assistance getting upstairs or in and out of a tub. Even if they are fine now, aging is a tricky thing and mobility issues can crop up at any time. Planning for them now can save you money and stress in the future.

At the other end of the spectrum, child-proofing a home is important for small children or new infants, so keep an eye out for sharp edges and remember youíll have to bring strollers, high-chairs, car seats and more so plan for easy-to-open doors. Donít forget that as your kids get older, their needs will change as well: plan for privacy and personal space where you can to save on upgrading your home in the future.
For the best home search, make sure to let your real estate agent know who all will be living with you. He or she can assist in finding homes with the features you need and can provide advice about what things are feasible to change yourself, and what will make a house cost more than your budget in the long run.
Some important features to look for include:
  • ?Need help affording a home that meets all your needs? What if you just want to upgrade your existing home? Government agencies offer financial grants and assistance to retrofit your home for the elderly. Check with your agent to see what you might qualify for.
  • Ready to find the forever home for your entire family? We can help! Talk to your agent about the best way to search for your new home.
  • Wide Doorways: A door without a turning requirement (and those that open wider than a right angle) need to be at least 32 inches wide to ensure that wheelchairs and walkers will fit. Right angle doorways or those that require turning to enter or exit should be at least 36 inches wide.
  • Wide Hallways: For comfortable use by strollers, walkers, and wheelchairs, look for hallways that are at least 42 inches wide. That much space gives you the option of installing handrails on one or both sides. Handrails can help both small children learning to walk, and elderly people with mobility issues.

Thatís the easy part. The hardest room for both the very young and the elderly is the bathroom. Itís a good idea to ensure that your home has a minimum of 2 full bathrooms to allow you to accommodate the needs of all members of your family. Seniors need ADA toilets (also called comfort height) and grab bars, while your small child would need an extra-tall stool to use the taller toilet. Large showers with floor level entrances, seats and grab bars are best for the elderly, but its often easier to wash your kids in a tub, especially when theyíre young. With two bathrooms, you can satisfy the needs of everyone in the family.

Last, but not least, pay attention to faucets, handles, and knobs. Rounded ones can be difficult for both the old and young members of your family. Look for a single handle, lever and touchless options for the best results all around. Donít forget to test cabinets and drawers for weight or friction pull closers since those are more difficult than soft close or magnetic options. Itís okay if the home doesnít come pre-fitted with the knobs, handles, etc. you want, a quick trip to your local hardware store will solve it.

Need help affording a home that meets all your needs? What if you just want to upgrade your existing home? Government agencies offer financial grants and assistance to retrofit your home for the elderly. Check with your agent to see what you might qualify for.

Ready to find the forever home for your entire family? Talk to your agent about the best way to search for your new home.




Categories: Family   homebuyers  




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