Can You get a Loan for Your Dream Home?

By: Meredith Stancik Email
By: Meredith Stancik Email

It's reality. The days of easy home loans are long over.

Zero percent down is a thing of the past and good credit scores are become increasingly important.

However, can you still afford the home of your dreams? We found out what you need to do to secure your dream home.

Debbie Davis is on a mission. She's helping consumers deal with a tightening credit market.

On the Debbie Davis Show, Debbie tackles listeners questions about personal finance, real estate and investments.

When she's not on-air, she's helping home-buyers close on their dream home. Debbie runs local mortgage company, Dexter Mortgage.

"They're getting denied left and right now," Davis said.

That's because getting a home loan isn't as easy as it used to be.

"A few years ago you could buy a house with no money down, have very little in cash reserves and actually get the closing cost paid by the sellers," Davis said.

Now, home buyers must follow certain guidelines.

You have to save. Be prepared to put three to five percent down.

You have to have a good credit score. Experts say establish credit, like opening up a credit card, and pay your bills on time. Most consumers have credit scores in the 600's, but you want to strive for 700 and above.

And you have to have money in the bank. It's recommended that you save six months worth of living expenses, just in case you lose your job.

"They expect you to have savings there and that's what I think first time home buyers lack the most," Davis said.

Debbie isn't the only one turning people away to save.

"We've seen tightening in the guidelines and it's going to cut some people out of the home buying market that could have bought within the last few years," Robin Hicks with City Bank Mortgage said.

Hicks is a local loan officer.

"We kind of need to clean up the system," Hicks said. "Some of the foreclosures are out there because there were borrowers that didn't need to be buying homes. They weren't qualified to buy a home and there were programs out there because of the demand that allowed them to. Now we need to turn the cycle around."

Since credit markets have tightened, you'll more than likely have to raise your credit score.

Here are some tips to help make that happen.

-Know what you owe.

-Prioritize. Secured debt, such as a house or car needs to be paid first, then pay off unsecured debt like credit cards.

-Pay your credit card with the highest interest rate first

-If possible, always make a payment larger than the required minimum

-Don't try to eliminate all your debt at once

-And if you can't pay your debt, contact creditors immediately to set up a payment plan.


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