Make your dream home a reality


(StatePoint)Spring is peak home-buying season, but for some, a low credit score may make it difficult for their dream home to become a reality.

Nearly a third of millennials (ages 18 to 34) hope to purchase a home within the next year, but more than 40 percent may not have the credit to do so, according to a survey from TransUnion, a leading credit bureau.

In contrast, the survey found older people’s intent to purchase a home better aligns with their financial standing. For example, 17 percent of those ages 35 to 54 said they plan to buy a home within the next year -- the same percent that has a super prime credit score -- an attractive trait for mortgage lenders.

As you start house hunting this spring, what markets are heating up?

The Northeast is a hot market, according to TransUnion findings, with 25 percent of respondents indicating intent to purchase a home in the region. The West was a close second, with 24 percent, followed by the South with 21 percent and 15 percent of people in the Midwest.

If you’re planning to purchase a home this year, TransUnion offers several important tips to consider to help make your dream home a reality:

• Check your credit report: Applying for a mortgage? Mortgage lenders will look at your credit score and report when you apply for a mortgage, so make sure your information is up to date. It’s best to check your report three months before you start looking at new homes to make sure your score is in a healthy range.

• Start planning early: Your credit score is built over a lifetime of spending. Keep an eye on your score and track how your spending habits affect it.

• Build credit: Consumers with low or no credit should take steps to build a healthy credit score. How? Paying bills on time, making sure you’re keeping a low credit utilization ratio (the amount of credit you’re using out of your available credit), and even asking your landlord to report rent payments to a credit bureau such as TransUnion are all ways you can build credit.

• Shop around: Research mortgages and interest rates to receive a competitive offer. Your credit score is of the utmost importance since lenders will check your score and report to make sure you will be able to responsible pay back the mortgage loan.

• Make a financial plan: Putting down a larger down payment will lower your monthly mortgage payment, but don’t put down more than you can afford. Also keep in mind that you will need funds for closing costs, including a home inspection, before you can purchase your home.

• Keep an open mind: It may take time to build credit and save enough money for a down payment. Even if your finances aren’t in shape for a home now, it doesn’t mean homeownership isn’t a realistic possibility for the future.

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