RE/MAX 440
John F. O'Hara

John F. O'Hara
731 W Skippack Pike  Blue Bell  PA 19422
Phone:  610-277-4060
Office:  215-643-3200
Cell:  267-481-1786
Fax:  267-354-6973

My Blog

Hoping to Buy a Home? 3 Ways to Up Your Credit Game

May 3, 2016 2:48 am

Planning to purchase a home in the next year? Don’t let poor credit dash your hopes!

Subprime credit—generally between 300 and 600 on the VantageScore scale—can inhibit a buyer’s ability to secure a mortgage. Recent research from TransUnion®, one of the three major credit bureaus, shows many first-time buyers, particularly millennials, are lacking in the credit department: 43 percent of would-be millennial buyers surveyed by the agency have a subprime credit score.

“Credit scores are a crucial component of the home-buying process, impacting everything from the size of a mortgage payment to the interest rate on a home loan,” says Ken Chaplin, TransUnion’s senior vice president. “People with subprime credit may face financial barriers to homeownership, making it difficult for their dream home to become a reality.

“The home-buying process begins well before you start looking for real estate,” adds Chaplin. “A credit score, which significantly impacts the home financing process, is built on good spending habits and a pattern of responsible borrowing established over a lifetime.”

To better your financial circumstances—and your chances of being approved for a mortgage—Chaplin advises the following tips:

Check your credit report first. Mortgage lenders will look at your credit report and score when you apply for a mortgage. To catch issues before they do, check your report three months before starting the home-buying process. Bear in mind 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. Those with low or no credit must build a healthy credit score. This includes paying all bills on time each month and maintaining a low credit utilization ratio, which is a ratio of how much credit you use out of your available credit limit. Other ways to build credit include factoring existing payments into your report, such as student loans (automatically included) and rent.

Do your homework. Research mortgages and interest rates. While placing a larger down payment will lower your monthly mortgage payment, don’t put down more than you can afford. Keep in mind, also, that you will need money for closing costs, including a home inspection, before you can purchase your home.

Remember, Chaplin says, that improving your credit can take time. If your finances aren’t in shape for a home now, that doesn’t mean homeownership isn’t a realistic goal for the future. Keep an open mind!

Source: TransUnion®

Published with permission from RISMedia.


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Money Tree: 3 Tips to Grow Healthy Financial Roots

May 2, 2016 2:45 am

Many of us are so out of shape financially, we pull a muscle just thinking about saving money, former Wall Street insider Eric McWhinnie observes. In fact, according to a recent study, just 37 percent of us have enough money saved to cover one of life’s unexpected expenses—no money trees here!

If McWhinnie’s observation seems too close for comfort, shore up your financial roots with these tips.

1. Pay Yourself First – After paying bills first for most of your life, it can be tough to break the habit. Instead of paying yourself last—assuming there is anything left over at the end of a pay period—start paying yourself first. Use an automatic deposit plan to draw 10 percent out of every paycheck and deposit it into savings before you pay the bills. Chances are, you won’t even miss it.

2. Track Your Spending – We tend to ignore our financial health in favor of convenience. Tracking every dollar you spend for at least one month will show you exactly where you could—and should—cut expenses. In turn, look at your fixed expenses, and start negotiating with service providers (think auto insurance or cable) for better rates.

3. Make Your Own Rules – Personal finance is aptly named. You get to decide what’s best. Recognize the insight that sound financial advice can give you, but bend it to make it work for you. Pundits advise, for example, spending around 30 percent of your income on housing, but you may be able to spend less than that and save the difference. The “rules” are to avoid credit cards, but if you use them responsibly, you can benefit from the cash-back, air miles or other perks they offer.

Above all, the key, says McWhinnie, is to set your goals and then find the best ways to meet them. With that philosophy in mind, you’ll have a money tree ripe for financial health—on your terms.

Published with permission from RISMedia.


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