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May 24th, 2012

Homebuying timeline: Buy a home within a year

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Flipping CalenderDo you have a FICO score of 620 and enough money saved to put 10 percent down on a home? Good luck getting a mortgage.

According to a recent study from the Federal Reserve, compared to 2006, lenders are far less likely to approve you for financing, let alone the best financing. Even if your credit score is as high as 720, financing can be hard to come by.

The New York Times reports, “For those with lower credit scores, the math is stark: A borrower with a credit score of 720 can expect a rate of 3.70 percent on a 30-year, $300,000 fixed-rate mortgage, according to myfico.com, while someone with a score of 620 to 639 can expect a 5.07 percent rate — or an extra $242 per monthly payment.”

Given the fact that a high credit score is one of the most important facets of your financing and overall mortgage costs, it’s no surprise that “Credit Review” is the first step on HSH.com’s new homebuying timeline.

If your present credit score is not high enough to qualify you for financing, the good news is that you have time to improve it.

HSH.com’s homebuying timeline is a month-by-month instructional guide designed to prepare you to buy a home within a year. The timeline takes you from month 12 to move in day.

Here’s a month-by-month breakdown of the information included in the homebuying timeline:

  • Month 12: A review of your credit. That involves pulling credit reports and taking the time to fix errors and improve your score.
  • Month 11: Deciding how much you can afford. As a potential buyer, you need to get an accurate grasp of your income, debts and savings. This is also the point when you determine whether you prequalify for a mortgage.
  • Month 10: What kind of home do you need? Do you need three, four, even five bedrooms? Are local public schools or proximity to public transportation important?
  • Month 9: Research the local housing stock. It’s time to start touring the neighborhoods you would like to live in. What properties that fit your price range and needs are actually available in your desired location?
  • Month 8: Find a Realtor. Once you find a local Realtor you trust, engage them with questions about current market conditions, let them know when and what you want to buy.

To learn more about what you need to do each month to prepare yourself to buy a home within a year, be sure to check out our homebuyer timeline.

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About the HSH Blog

HSH.com's daily blog focuses on the latest developments in the mortgage and housing markets. Our mission is to relate how changes in mortgage rates and housing policy, as well as the latest financial news, impacts consumers, homebuyers and industry insiders alike. Our 30-plus years of experience in the mortgage industry gives us an edge as we break down the latest changes in an ever-changing market.

Our bloggers:

Tim Manni

Tim Manni is the Managing Editor of HSH.com and the author of their daily blog, which concentrates on the latest developments in the mortgage and housing markets.

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