Thinking about buying your first home? Here are some helpful tips to consider when starting the process, brought to you by Credit Union of Ohio.
Tip One: Attend a Financial Education Workshop before you begin the process!
Credit Union of Ohio is passionate about educating their members (and potential members) on making smart financial decisions. That’s one of the reasons they offer local Financial Education workshops throughout the year. These popular workshops guide attendees through the correct process of buying a home. Oh, how I wish I knew about these workshops before buying my first home! I could have used this great advice. The whole process was overwhelming and confusing at times.
Many consumers do it backwards, just like I did. They find a realtor first, then a home, and lastly, they scurry to find financing for their “dream” home. In the effort to prevent these potential mishaps, Credit Union of Ohio wants to help you navigate the home buying experience before you even start looking for your future home.
Credit Union of Ohio’s next Financial Education Workshops are coming up on March 15th from 5:30-7:00 p.m. at the Hilliard branch and April 5th from 5:00-6:30 p.m. at the OSU branch. Click here for details and to RSVP: Homebuyers Workshops
Tip Two: Before Buying a New Home, Look into your Credit Score
There are three credit reporting agencies:
A good rule of thumb is that you should check your credit score annually. If you see any errors, dispute them right away. It’s free to check your report once a year from each of the three credit bureaus above, but please know there is a charge to see your actual score. NOTE: The difference between excellent credit and poor credit is thousands of dollars. Just taking a couple of years to fix any credit issues and improve credit provides many cost savings.
Tip Three: Work on paying down any current debts.
You can do this in two ways. First, start with the smallest debt and pay it off completely, then the next smallest debt and so on. Also, evaluate interest rates. Or, pay off the loans with the highest interest rate first.
Tip Four: Don’t Close Credit Card Accounts.
Your credit score is based on length of credit.
Tip Five: Only apply for credit card accounts that you need or intend to use.
Your credit score will be lowered if there are too many inquiries for new credit. So that Victoria’s Secret credit card you signed up for to get a discount that one time you actually purchased an outfit there, is probably not a very wise choice.
Tip Six: Getting pre-approved prior to looking at homes so you know what you can afford.
It’s important to think about taxes, utilities and much more. Not just the mortgage payment. I learned this lesson the hard way. I neglected to think through the amount of taxes I would have to pay each year on my home AND how much money to save “just in case” I needed to have any work done on my home. After the first year, we had to have our chimney fixed, our upstairs bathroom remodeled because of a leak and black mold, and our house repainted. There went our daughters’ college fund savings for the year, any major retirement investments, and the vacation we were planning.
Tip Seven: Know the following information before you apply for a loan:
Gross monthly income for all applicants, payment amounts for any student loan debt, any child support or alimony payments, open judgments, garnishments, and all outstanding liens in the “Public Records” section of your credit bureau.
The Credit Union of Ohio prides itself on Local Lending and Local Decisions. When you work with one of their mortgage officers, that’s who you work with from beginning to end and they will take good care of you. For more information about the Credit Union of Ohio, please attend one of their upcoming Financial Workshops on March 15th or April 5th, call: 1-800-443-5698, or go to their website for more information: Credit Union of Ohio. I really encourage you to attend one of these workshops. They are very informative and can help prevent you from making some of the same mistakes many of us first time home buyers make.