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This Old House - Do-it-Yourself

Things to Prepare for if You Don’t Know Anything About Buying a House

Written by Posted On Monday, 26 September 2016 17:12

Lots of people would like to buy a house one day. And that’s all the thought they’ve given the matter. They might think that one day, they’ll figure it out. And lots of them do. But kicking the can down the road will just give you less time to prepare, and with a big financial move, like this one, you really need all the time you can get. So here are a few things that you’ll need to prepare for in order to buy a house with all the possible advantages, financial and otherwise.

1)    Work on Your Credit Score. What’s a good credit score to buy a home? There is no right answer, but you certainly want something over 700 if you can, and the higher the better. Credit score isn’t the only factor. You also want a good credit history. Those are two different things. A credit history is based on experience. If you have never had a credit card, never had bills in your name, a bank probably won’t give you a mortgage loan, even if you have a great credit score. Start taking on calculated financial responsibilities, as far in advance of a mortgage request as possible. Get a credit card and use it responsibly, if nothing else.

2)    Work on Steady Income. A bank wants you to have a steady job, or at least steady income, if they are going to give you a loan. They want you to have had two years of this income, verifiable by your tax history. If you have been between jobs, or have been discounting the value of a steady career, maybe it’s time to start to lock that in, at least for a couple of years. If you wonder if your present income is steady and long-term enough to get a loan, why not ask a mortgage specialist at your bank?

3)    Save, Save, Save. You can have all of these other factors working for you, but if you don’t have money saved for a down payment, you won’t be able to buy a house. The minimum down payment that you could possibly ever pay is 3%, but you will be required to get mortgage insurance. Depending on your credit history and other factors, the minimum down payment that is available in your specific case could be anywhere from 5% to 20%. If you pay 20%, you won’t have to get mortgage insurance. If you are buying a $150,000 house (or more), obviously these down payments could be a lot of money. Start saving now, bub.


Buying a house is no small thing. It takes time and energy and a lot of preparation. Take the time to figure out the path ahead, years before you actually initiate this process. If you have all of your ducks in a row, you’ll be a lot more prepared, and the whole process will go a lot easier. If you’re not prepared, you’ll have to do a lot more scrambling, and you may be denied a loan outright. Get it right the first time!

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