Some of the most popular New Year’s resolutions are financial promises and plans for the coming year. Is buying a home or financially preparing yourself to buy a home on your radar for 2016? If so, the best way to ensure that you reach that goal is to be proactive and start working towards your goals as soon as you can.
Mortgage interest rates are currently still low and experts don’t believe that they will rise sharply anytime soon, so if you’re interested in buying a new home 2016 is likely to be a great year to do that! With rental markets around the country heating up, 2016 looks to also be a great year for those with homes to list on the market. Whether you’re just looking to get yourself ready to be in the position to buy sometime in the future, or looking to actually buy a home in 2016, there are a few key things you can do in order to set yourself up to qualify for the best rates, terms and mortgage programs available on the market today:
- Familiarize yourself with the mortgage loan products and programs available. ARMs, conventional mortgages, FHA loans, USDA loans, VA loans – what is best for you and your family? Although a mortgage broker should be able to help you determine what mortgage product is best for you, it’s always a good idea to familiarize yourself a bit with your options. What is your long term and short term financial situation? Are you a veteran or the surviving spouse of a veteran? Are you looking at rural property, whether a farm or a home in the country? Once you’re able to map out some of the factors about yourself that may impact the mortgage loan programs you may qualify for, a lender can help you navigate the details of each program.
- Down payments. Do you already have one? Will you have one? Will you even need one? Traditionally, buyers were expected to put down at least 20% of the purchase price of a home in cash. And for most buyers with conventional mortgages, that is still the case if they want to avoid private mortgage insurance (PMI). However, some lenders are becoming more flexible with their down payment terms today in order to attract more buyers and more business and are relaxing their down payment rules. Additionally, there are federally-backed loan programs like FHA and VA loans which can require down payments significantly less than 20% – in some cases these programs won’t require any down payment at all!
What’s your credit score? If you don’t know what’s on your credit report, or what your credit score is – check it out today! You can request your credit report for free once per year from each of the three major credit bureaus. This report won’t contain your score, but that can either be purchased or obtained from a prospective lender. It’s important to check your credit report on a regular basis for inaccurate information which might negatively impact your credit score. Generally, the higher your score, the better your rates and terms, so if your score could use some improvement get started on it today!