One of the biggest factors mortgage lenders consider when deciding whether to issue a loan (and how much they're willing to issue) is your credit score. If you have a good credit score, you'll typically have no issue getting a mortgage. But what it your credit score is closer to "bad" than "awesome"? You'll have to put a bit more time and effort into finding a mortgage, but it is possible. Here are some tips that will help.
Save up a substantial down payment.
Saving a larger down payment will help you in two ways. First, it will reduce the amount of the mortgage that you need to take out, which makes your chances of getting a mortgage greater. (You're more likely to find a bank willing to lend you $50,000 than $100,000, for instance.) Second, saving a down payment will show the lender that you are able to set aside money and live in a financially responsible manner. If you can set aside that much cash, then surely you'll be able to make monthly payments on a loan. Most lenders are looking for a down payment of a least 20% the value of the home—but saving 25% or 30% is a good idea if you can manage to do so.
Provide other paperwork that shows your financial responsibility.
A low credit score makes you look less financially responsible to the lender. Your goal should be to provide evidence to the contrary. Show the lender that your credit score is virtually the only bad mark you have and that you have other evidence that you can make payments and are a financially responsible person. Examples of paperwork you can include in your file are:
- Records showing that you've paid your utility bills on time for x number of years.
- A statement from your landlord saying that you've always paid rent on time. (Include the amount of your rent in this statement. If you've been paying $900 rent a month, the lender will be assured you can afford to pay $900 mortgage payments each month.)
- Student-loan records showing a history of on-time payments.
Work with private lenders.
You're likely to have better luck seeking a mortgage from a local bank or credit union than from a big-name bank. Smaller banks and credit unions will typically spend more time sitting down and talking with you in person. You may have more of a chance to explain why your credit score is low and convince them that you're a reasonable person to lend to.
For more information on buying a house, talk to a professional like ERA Key 1 Realty Inc.-Cindy Frank.