Buying a home can be an exciting and intimidating process. You have to figure out how to vacate your current home, choose where you want to live, find the right lender and much more. With the sheer amount of steps involved, it can be easy to fall for misinformation around your credit and the part it plays in the mortgage process.
When preparing to buy a home, don’t believe these common credit myths.
Myth #1: You need impeccable credit to buy a home.
The reality: Having strong credit can help you look more attractive to lenders. It can help you secure a loan and access lower interest rates, which can lower your monthly payment and save you thousands of dollars over the lifetime of the loan. But while its prudent to present the highest credit score you possibly can, borrowers can qualify for mortgage loans with credit scores in the 600s or below.
Remember, credit reports and credit scores are only one part of your overall financial picture. Lenders can also look at your income, down payment amount, current debts and size of your loan.
That said, it helps to get your credit is in the best shape it can be before you start applying for mortgage loans. Check out our article to see where your credit stands and learn how you can achieve your goals.
Myth #2: All lenders offer the same rates and services.
The reality: Don’t blindly pick the first mortgage lender you find on Google or through your agent. You can save a lot of money by shopping around for the best interest rate. Some lenders may have the ability to connect you with local loan programs or down payment assistance, so make sure to evaluate multiple lenders before you find the right one for you.
Myth #3: Shopping around for loans can hurt your credit.
The reality: An inquiry into your credit by a lender is recorded on your credit report and can cause it to dip slightly. But multiple credit checks from mortgage lenders in a short time frame can only count as a single inquiry. This means you are free to request multiple pre-approvals and loan estimates from multiple lenders to find the best loan for you, without any added consequences to your credit.
Myth #4: You need to be debt free.
The reality: No matter what types of debt you have, their existence doesn’t bar you from getting approved for a mortgage. If you can show that you can responsibly manage your debt and pay it back, having debt should not be a problem. The bigger issue is your debt-to-income ratio, or the amount of monthly income that you currently must use to make debt payments. A low debt-to-income ratio indicates that you have the ability to take on a mortgage, while a high debt-to-income ratio may signal that you are already overextended.