Sign up for our FREE Monthly Email Newsletter
In addition to keeping in the financial know, you may be interested in checking your credit score and report.
¹The credit scores provided under the offers described here use the Equifax Credit Score, which is a proprietary credit model developed by Equifax. The Equifax Credit Score and 3-Bureau scores are each based on the Equifax Credit Score model, but calculated using the information in your Equifax, Experian and TransUnion credit files. The Equifax Credit Score is intended for your own educational use. It is also commercially available to third parties along with numerous other credit scores and models in the marketplace. Please keep in mind third parties are likely to use a different score when evaluating your creditworthiness. Also, third parties will take into consideration items other than your credit score or information found in your credit file, such as your income.
²The Automatic Fraud Alert feature is made available to consumers by Equifax Information Services LLC and fulfilled on its behalf by Equifax Consumer Services LLC.
³Equifax Credit Report Control™ is only available while you have a current subscription to Equifax Complete Premier. Locking your credit file with Equifax Credit Report Control will prevent access to your Equifax credit file by certain third parties, such as credit grantors or other companies and agencies. Credit Report Control will not prevent access to your credit file at any other credit reporting agency, and will not prevent access to your Equifax credit file by companies like Equifax Personal Solutions which provide you with access to your credit report or credit score or monitor your credit file; Federal, state and local government agencies; companies reviewing your application for employment; companies that have a current account or relationship with you, and collection agencies acting on behalf of those whom you owe; for fraud detection and prevention purposes; and companies that wish to make pre-approved offers of credit or insurance to you. To opt out of such pre-approved offers, visit www.optoutprescreen.com/.
4We will require you to provide your payment information when you sign up and we will immediately charge your card $4.95. After that, we will charge the card $19.95 for each month you continue your subscription. You may cancel at any time; however, we do not provide partial month refunds.
Equifax® is a registered trademark and Equifax Complete™ Premier is a trademark of Equifax, Inc. © 2014, Equifax Inc., Atlanta, Georgia. All rights reserved.
As we start fresh every year, I try to share my list of resolutions to get your finances in order and help you buy a house. The real estate market hasn’t had much good news for the past few years, and mortgage lenders have gotten even tighter with their lending regulations.
This isn’t a particularly happy state of real estate affairs. And yet, the only hope for a recovery is if qualified buyers come back to the real estate market.
So here are a few New Year’s resolutions you should make if you hope to buy a home in 2012:
1. Pull a copy of your credit report and credit score. Mortgage lenders have become extremely conservative in deciding which mortgages will get funded. Lending requirements are getting tighter and tighter. Lenders will pull credit scores from each of the three credit reporting bureaus—Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion—and then use the middle score to determine your loan’s interest rate and terms. You need to know that information ahead of time.
Go to AnnualCreditReport.com to receive a free copy of your credit report, and then pay for your credit score (about $9). Remember that once a year you can get a free copy of your credit report from each of the three credit reporting agencies.
If you’ve already used up your freebies, you can also see all three credit reporting bureau credit reports with your Equifax Credit Report. Even if you don’t plan on buying a home or refinancing a home loan in the near future, you might want to keep tabs on any issues that may be affecting your credit score.
2. Practice good credit behavior. Lenders regard those with a credit score above 780 as their best borrowers. Unless your credit score is above that level, you should work on eliminating any errors and practicing good credit behavior so that your score rises.
The best thing you can do to improve your creditworthiness? Pay your bills on time and in full each month. The next best thing you can do is to maintain a few open and active lines of credit.
Take a look at the credit tab for more tips on how to improve your creditworthiness and be the most attractive borrower to lenders.
3. Shop around for the best mortgage loan. Even though the federal government is backing more than 90 percent of all the loans through Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, FHA, VA, and USDA, it pays to shop around. Make sure you talk to at least four or five lenders before you sign your application, including a “big box” lender, a small local lender, a credit union, a mortgage broker, and an online lender. Use the information from each lender to negotiate one against the other and get a great deal for yourself. Yes, you’re allowed to negotiate with lenders and to ask them to give you a better deal.
4. Create a great home-buying team. You’ll want a team of real estate professionals who can help you find the right property, at the right price, on the right terms. To start, homebuyers will want their team to include a great real estate agent, a mortgage broker, a real estate attorney, a tax preparer, and a real estate inspector. Having the right team in place will go a long way toward making your dream of homeownership come true.
I wish you the best of luck with your financial goals in 2012.
Winter Home Maintenance and Weatherproofing Tips
Selling Your Home: Low Appraisal Options
Where Have All the Buyers Gone?
Buying A Home: Estimated Closing Costs
Hidden Benefits of Buying a Home
Housing Market Predictions: More Foreclosures on the Market
Ilyce R. Glink is the author of several books, including 100 Questions Every First-Time Home Buyer Should Ask and Buy, Close, Move In!. She blogs about money and real estate at ThinkGlink.com and at the Home Equity blog for CBS MoneyWatch.
Equifax maintains this interactive forum for education and information purposes in order to allow individuals to share their relevant knowledge and opinions with other members and visitors. We encourage you to participate in discussions about personal finance issues and other topics of interest to this community, but please read our commenting guidelines first. Equifax reserves the right to monitor postings to the forum and comments will be published at our discretion. Do you have questions or comments about your Equifax credit report or customer-service issues regarding an Equifax product? If so, please contact Equifax directly. All opinions and information expressed or shared in blog comments are solely those of the person submitting the comments, and don't necessarily represent the views of Equifax or its management.