Ever wonder how your credit score is calculated? There are several factors involved in determining your credit score. Learn more now.Banks use your credit score (aka FICO score) to help determine whether you are a worthy risk for a Hendersonville home loan. It’s also one of the deciding factors regarding your interest rate on a mortgage loan. Most likely, you already know WHAT a credit score is. But have you ever asked yourself, “how is my credit score calculated?” That’s a much more complicated answer.

Lenders like it when you have several different types of credit. That includes not only revolving credit, like credit cards and department store accounts, but also previous mortgage notes on other Hendersonville area homes, installment loans, student loans, car loans, etc.

Most Hendersonville home owners have debt. It can sometimes be unavoidable. But, too much debt makes you look risky. Make a concerted effort to pay down as much debt as you can before you apply for a mortgage loan.

Banks live by the mantra “those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” Your payment history says a lot about your creditworthiness. Late payments on any bill, including the cable, cell phone, electric bill, etc., may be reported to the credit reporting agencies, reducing your score and your chances of scoring a home loan.

Not only is your payment history important, but the length of time you have had credit can affect your score as well. The longer you’ve had a history of credit accounts and payments, the more complete a picture a mortgage company will have at your spending and repayment habits. A long history of credit with faithful payments makes your Hendersonville home loan a much more attractive risk than someone who just received a credit card two months ago and is applying for a home loan.

Finally, opening new credit while trying to purchase a Hendersonville home is a definite “no-no”. First of all, your credit is hit by 5-10 points every time someone makes an inquiry. When you purchase a car, for example, the dealership may try to find you the best deal by shopping around at a few lending institutions. That could mean three to four different hits on your credit at one time. Secondly, a mortgage company could look at this as someone who is set on a spending spree, which makes you look less fiscally responsible and can cost you approval on your home loan.

Knowing how your credit score is calculated can help you stay on top of your credit in a more effective manner. Keep these tips in mind before you apply for a mortgage on your Hendersonville home. A good score not only means loan approval, but can also determine how much it will cost you for any loan you take out.

Rich Cooke, your Western North Carolina real estate specialist

Originally posted on my Western North Carolina Real Estate blog here: http://rich-cooke.com/2012/09/13/calculating-credit-score/.

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Be Prepared When Buying a HomeCongratulations!  Whether you’re a first time homebuyer or someone who’s been around the block a few times, purchasing a Western North Carolina home is a big investment in both time and money.  It’s important to be prepared when buying a home.  Here are a few things you can do to make the home buying process smoother:

Make a List – Write down everything you absolutely cannot live without.  How many bedrooms does your Hendersonville home need?  Will a two-car garage work or do you need three spaces?  Does your home need to be close to work?  What size dwelling (in square feet) do you want to own?  By putting these needs down in writing, you will be able to better focus on the homes you really want without being distracted.

Hire a ProfessionalFinding the right Western North Carolina REALTOR® to help you with all your home buying needs is key.  You need someone who is experienced and can make you feel comfortable.  They also have access to listings that you can’t find anywhere else, including online real estate websites like Trulia or Zillow.  Since they are in the field everyday, they can use their extensive network to help you find the perfect Henderson County home.

Do Your Research – Once you’ve decided on which neighborhood you’re truly interested in settling down in, do research on the area.  Drive around the community on different days and at different times to get a feel for the place.  Find out what the local economy is like.  Research prices of homes in the area so you know what is reasonable and what isn’t.  Check out the school district.  Even if you don’t currently have children, the school system can be a big selling point when it comes time to sell your Henderson County home.

Get Pre-Approved – Unlike pre-qualifying, which only tells you how much you should be able to afford based on a quick analysis of your debt-to-income ratio and credit rating, being pre-approved for a Hendersonville home means that you have already gone through the loan qualifying process and a mortgage company has given you a letter of credit stating that you are approved for X amount of dollars.  When you find that perfect home you absolutely must have, this letter of credit will show the seller that you are both serious and ready to act now.  They won’t have to wait through the lengthy loan qualifying process to see if you even get approved.  You’ve done the work already.  You may even be able to negotiate a better price because of this (talk to your REALTOR® about this).

Whatever you can do to be prepared when buying a home will ultimately help your Western North Carolina real estate transaction happen as smoothly and successfully as possible.  Feel free to contact me with any questions.  I’m always happy to help.

Rich Cooke, your Western North Carolina real estate specialist

Congress Approves Homebuyer Tax Credit ExtensionIn a late vote last night (June 30, 2010), Congress approved an extension of the homebuyer tax credit.  Previously, homebuyers with a signed contract by April 30th had to have their loans closed (through escrow) by the end of business day on June 30th to take advantage of the $8000 first time homebuyers tax credit and $6500 homebuyer tax credit.  Because so many people rushed to get their loans in under the April 30th deadline, there was a huge backlog of loans that needed to be approved.  Usually, two months is plenty of time to close out a loan.  However, the backlog pushed about 180,000 people to the edge of missing out on the tax credit, according to the National Association of REALTORS®.

The tax credit deadline only extends to those people who had a signed, binding contract for their home loan by the end of business on April 30, 2010.  If you bought a home after that, you are not eligible for either tax credit.  For those homebuyers who had their contracts under way by April 30th, you now have until September 30, 2010 to close escrow to still be eligible for the $8000 or $6500 homebuyer tax credits. 

Now that congress has approved the homebuyer tax credit extension, many homebuyers can breathe a sigh of relief.  Even if you missed out on your chance to take advantage of the tax credits, it’s still a great time to purchase your dream Hendersonville home.  Home prices are very affordable, a variety of different types of homes are available and interest rates remain at historical lows.  Just contact me today!

You'll never get a lemon in Hendersonville real estate if you use Rich Cooke.

A new government program helps ease the short sale process.  The Home Affordable Foreclosure Alternatives (HAFA) program has set new rules that make the long, arduous process of a short sale much more streamlined and effective.  How is this possible?  For one thing, HAFA offers mortgage companies incentives to participate in their program.  If you are in danger of foreclosure, have tried a loan modification through the HAMP program but have not been successful and need to sell your home for less than you owe before the bank takes it back, the HAFA program may be able to help.

Previously, homeowners didn’t know the minimum amount a bank would accept.  So, they would put their home on the market at a price they thought was OK and had to wait for the mortgage company to approve or reject the offer.  This process could take several months.  But through the HAFA program, homeowners are allowed to get a preapproved agreement from the bank on the terms they are willing to accept.  Another great outcome through the HAFA program is that the lender also must accept the proceeds from the short sale as payment in full for the seller’s loan.  They cannot try to collect the remaining balance after the sale is completed.

For homeowners to qualify under the HAFA rules, the property must be their primary residence, they have tried to do a HAMP loan modification, the mortgage was originated before January 1, 2009, the homeowner is either delinquent on payments or is in danger of foreclosure, the monthly mortgage payment is more than 31% of the homeowner’s gross income, the balance of the loan is under $729,750 and the homeowner can prove hardship.  Only mortgages guaranteed by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac will be considered.

Take advantage of the HAFA government program to ease the short sale process.  If you are looking at purchasing or selling a home in a short sale in the Hendersonville real estate market, please contact me today.  I can help you!

Don't get a lemon. Contact Rich Cooke for all your Hendersonville real estate needs.

$8000 Tax Credit Extended

November 12, 2009

The $8000 tax credit has been extended and includes a $6500 tax credit for existing homeowners.The $8000 First Time Home Buyers Tax Credit has been extended both in time and to include a $6500 tax credit for existing homeowners.  Previously, only first time home buyers (those buyers who have not owned a home for at least the three previous years) were eligible for an up to $8000 tax credit based on the purchase price of the home.  This was set to stop December 1, 2009.  However, President Obama has just signed an extension to the First Time Home Buyers Tax Credit that applies to all homes purchased by April 30, 2010.  If you have a signed binding sales contract in effect by April 30, 2010, you have until July 2, 2010 to close escrow.

In addition to the $8000 First Time Home Buyers Tax Credit, President Obama made available a $6500 tax credit for current homeowners looking to purchase a new home.  Existing homeowners must have used their home as their primary residence for at least five consecutive of the last 8 years to qualify for this new tax credit.

Income Limits:

If you are a single home buyer or married filing head of household, you cannot make more than $125,000.  If you are married and file jointly, you cannot make more than $225,000 to receive the total tax credit you are eligible for.  You are eligible for a partial credit if you are single or a head of household filer and make between $125,000 and $145,000 or married filing jointly with an income between $225,000 and $245,000.

Homes That Qualify:

Only a home that is purchased and used as a primary residence is eligible for the appropriate tax credit.  That means that vacation homes, rental properties and commercial properties do not qualify.  Also, the purchase price cannot exceed $800,000

These tax credits do not have to be paid back provided you use your house for your primary residence for at least three years.  However, if you sell your home before the three year time period is up, you will be required to pay back all the tax credit you received.  For more information on the tax credit extensions and how they effect you with your Western North Carolina home, please contact me.

Rich Cooke, your Hendersonville real estate expert

If you are in the market to purchase a home or want to refinance your mortgage to take advantage of the lower interest rates available, you will want to run a credit report first.  This will allow you find out:

1. What is my credit score?

2. Are there any accounts being reported that aren’t mine?

3. Are there discrepancies being reported by my current creditors?

Check our your credit report from Experian before buying or refinancing a home.     credit-agencies2     equifax1

Thanks to the Fair Credit Reporting Act, you are entitled to one full credit report from TransUnion, Experian and Equifax each year.  That means, you can either request one free report from each credit reporting agency sporadically throughout the year or you can order all three at once to compare information.  This is the more recommended method, since companies don’t all report to the same agencies and information on each report can vary.  The better your credit is before you purchase or refinance your home, the better interest rate you will receive, saving you money.  When you find any mistakes on your credit report, immediately notify the agency it was reported to and file a dispute on the discrepancy.  It is the credit reporting agency’s responsibility to follow up on it.  Visit http://www.annualcreditreport.com to get a copy of your free reports online, via phone or in the mail.

If you have any more questions about getting your free credit report or need help with your Western North Carolina real estate needs, please give me a call at (828) 808-9238 or email me at rich@richcooke.com.  I’m here to help.