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First-Time Home Buying

The purchase of your first home may be the most important financial decision you’ll ever make. Yet, finding the perfect property in the location you love is not the beginning of your journey. There are several other aspects to buying a home. Knowing ahead of time what steps you’ll need to take can help you make informed decisions and eliminate a lot of the anxiety and uncertainty as you start on the road to home ownership. The first step is getting your financial house in order.

Tackle your debt

A couple holding a sign that says 'Our First Home'.

It’s important to minimize debt load because mortgage lenders calculate what’s known as your debt-to-income ratio. Essentially, this is how much money you spend each month paying off your debt expressed as a percentage of your total monthly income. If your ratio is under 43 percent, you may qualify for a mortgage. If your debt-to-income ratio is greater than 43 percent, it may be an uphill struggle to obtain a mortgage at a competitive rate.

Work on your credit score

Your credit score is simply your past credit history, your current credit situation and a prediction of your future credit performance expressed as a single number. It’s based on several factors, including credit payment history, outstanding debts, length of your credit history, how many types of credit you have, the number of new requests for credit.

Check your credit reports

Lenders use your credit score to decide whether to approve you for a home mortgage. Your score can also affect your insurance rates and even what jobs you can get. It’s important to check your credit reports several months before you apply for a mortgage to ensure that there are no errors in it. You and your partner should request a report from each of the three national consumer-reporting agencies. It’s best to check all three reports because the information in each may be different. Errors are common, and they can range from inaccurate payment information to an out-of-date home address or employment information. If there are errors, you will have time to correct them.

Notices & Disclosures
Article is adapted from content provided by DTS.

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