February 11th, 2016 1:29 PM by Jackie A. Graves, President
Would-be homebuyers eyeing 2016 as the year have
a fair bit working in their favor. Mortgage credit continues to thaw, interest
rates remain surprisingly flat and more homes are expected to hit the market as
To be sure, some buyers have a more streamlined path than others. Macro-level
outlooks are one thing; it’s another to build the credit and finances necessary
to lock down a home loan in the current lending environment.
you’re a first-time explorer or a long-term dreamer, here are six tips to help
you make the leap and take advantage of a promising housing market in 2016.
looks to be loosening as we head into the Spring homebuying season. Through the
first six months of 2015, the average FICO credit score for all closed loans
was 730, but that decreased to a 722 FICO score by the end of the year,
according to mortgage software firm Ellie Mae.
building the strongest credit profile possible can save you money when it comes
to things like interest rates and private mortgage insurance.
your credit, you can get copies of
your free annual credit reports each year from AnnualCreditReport.com. Review
them carefully for errors or problems that might be dragging down your scores.
(You can find more about how
to dispute errors on your credit reports here.) Pay your bills on
time and strive to keep your credit card balances under at least 30% and
ideally 10% of your credit limit. You can track your progress by viewing your two free credit
scores each month on