Real Estate Purchases & Credit Scores

The real estate market is continuing to rise and interest rates are moving upward it is time to focus on buyers in regards to credit and scores. Although borrowing money has become more costly rates are still very low historically. As the economy crashed high Fico scores (above a 740) became crucial in a purchasers ability to get loan approval or the lowest rates available. This means buyers with high scores may be able to qualify for a larger mortgage which could equal a better school district, a bigger home, or less cost for the same loan creating more savings. All of this leads to a better quality of life for the buyer.

Here is an example:

Having a 740 plus credit score when purchasing a $960,000 property with 20% down may cost the buyer $4113 a month in mortgage payment. The total price of the loan over 30 years equals $1,480,730.00. Having a score a bit lower than 740 for the same $960,000 property with the same down payment could cost the buyer $4356 a month which may seem like a small difference. Over the life of the loan the full cost is $1,568,117.00 which equals almost $90,000 more.

So what can bankers, realtors, financial planners, CPA’s and attorneys do to help clients prepare for what could be the largest investment of their lifetime?

First asking the right questions and having the right team of experts available to assess the situation is crucial. Here are some of these questions:

  1. When will you be purchasing a property?
  2. Do you know what your credit scores are?
  3. Have you spoken to a mortgage professional or realtor to find out what is needed for preparation on this purchase?
  4. Have you figured out how much of a mortgage you can afford?
  5. Do you know what the taxes are in the location you are looking to buy in?
  6. When the divorce is final will you be purchasing a property?
  7. Maybe I can help you by having you speak to some professionals that I work with who can give you guidance and insight?

This is the age of information and we cannot all be experts in every area but we can have a team available to help us provide what is best for our clients instead of sending them off into the vast wilderness of misinformation and “so called” experts.

These are professionals to be considered as a support team for any CPA, financial planner, realtor, mortgage banker, or attorney:

  • Mortgage professional
    If you are not a mortgage professional find one with great knowledge and experience that you are very comfortable with. This professional should be available to you and your client offering feedback when purchasing is just a thought. They can help with the preparation and education allowing the buyer to make decisions that can lead to a more graceful and less expensive purchase moving forward.
    Getting approval for a loan is more complicated these days although banks want to lend money they also are very careful to price loans right based on the potential risk (credit, income, and value of property). They will request a lot of information to make sure they have the proper documentation on all the requirements for underwriting the loan. A mortgage professional will guide your client and explain what is needed early on making the end result attainable and expectations clear.
  • Credit Expert
    Having the right credit expert assess what needs to be done to get the buyer into the best credit position for purchasing the property. With the right credit score buyers can save hundreds and thousands of dollars over the life of the loan or make loan approval a possibility. Credit takes time to fix and time to manage properly for the best improvement to scores. If a buyer cannot be approved for a mortgage due to poor scores it is a waste of time to even begin searching for a property. Credit and the scoring systems are very confusing which could mean what one might think is a minor misstep can turn into a major cost for the buyer or a rejection for a loan.
  • Real Estate professional
    Having the right real estate professional who can help the buyer define the area, price point, type of property, time involved in finding it, and provide expert negotiation skills plays a huge part in the success of the transaction.

Here is an example of how this can work:

John and Linda are in the midst of a divorce. Larry is John’s divorce attorney. John is giving the house to Linda and at the moment he is renting. Once the divorce is final he will be looking to purchase an apartment in NYC. Larry knows John will have credit issues since some of the bills were not paid on time due to the divorce process. He also knows that John has been so absorbed emotionally by the divorce that he has done little homework on what is needed for loan approval. As the divorce is winding down to its end Larry starts asking John some questions. He puts John in touch with a mortgage banker, realtor, and us for credit repair. The banker finds that John not only needs to get approval for a purchase but he also needs to be taken off the existing mortgage that his ex-wife is responsible for once the divorce is finalized. The banker gets involved right away to help the refinance along since John will not be approved for the size loan he wants if he is still on the mortgage associated with his ex wife’s property. Since credit is a big factor in the loan approval and cost of financing, we get started right away in working on the credit scores. In John’s case we will need 30-60 days to improve his credit. Now that John knows what he needs to do he also contacts the realtor and discusses what type of property will work for him and when he should start looking based on the timing of the refinance of his existing mortgage and the credit restoration process. John is grateful to his attorney for guiding him at a time that he could not guide himself and leading him to other professionals that can help him realistically reach his goals.

Reaching out and learning about other professionals’ that play a large part in your clients financial life will lead to great support, knowledge , and value for your customer base. Being proactive in helping is what separates an average professional from a great one! Of course giving more will ultimately lead to happier clients, more referrals, and a more successful business!

Call us with any questions or feedback on credit challenged clients or credit in general!

Making sure credit is analyzed with future real estate purchases in mind is a MUST before taking an action that can foil those plans and limit a consumers options for a better quality of life.


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