Stuck in the Renting Rut

If you’ve been renting an apartment for longer than you’ve had a Facebook, don’t worry—you’re not the only one. But if you’ve been teetering on the fence of buying or renting, going over the pros and cons, all whilst watching your friends settle into their own place, it might be time to say goodbye to the landlord.

It’s normal to be afraid to take the plunge into home-buying territory, but with the help of a great agent and a little research, you can determine if the time is right for you.

If you have a healthy savings account.
Perhaps the scariest part about buying a home is making the financial commitment, but if you’ve managed to save enough (and then some) to put a down payment of at least 10 percent, you should feel confident in your ability to make the purchase.

If you’re ready to commit.
Another common qualm about buying a home is the uncertainty of where you will be a year or two from now. However, if you have a steady job and are happy with the location, there’s really no reason for concern.

If the price is right.
An agent can help you determine whether or not the price you are looking to pay is reasonable for your specifications and needs in a home, but ultimately, if the market is favorable and you’ve found the right deal, there’s no better time than the present.

If you’re sick of pouring money into someone else’s pocket.
It sounds harsh, but if you’ve been renting for three, five, or even ten years, you have been spending thousands of dollars on something that doesn’t even truly belong to you when all is said and done. Sure, a mortgage is likely more than your current rent, but you’ll have a place to really call your own.

Busting Common Credit Myths

Anyone who has purchased a home or is currently looking to buy can tell you that credit score is one of the most important factors in securing a loan. It can affect a lot of other areas of your life, too, but is particularly important in the real estate world.

Depending on how much research you’ve done or who you’ve spoken to, you might have bought in to a number of popular “credit myths”—fears about credit score that simply aren’t true.

We’re here to breakdown these frequently-believed myths, and explain what they really mean.

All debt is bad, and will lower your credit score.

Debt is a scary word. Most of us believe that having any debt looks bad and will negatively affect credit. However, there is a big difference between debt that can actually benefit your score and debt that can hurt it. If you rack up thousands in credit card debt, this will surely hurt your rating. If you take out a mortgage on a home, this shouldn’t hurt, so long as you continue to make your payments.

Checking my score will damage my rating.

This myth is simply not true, although it’s touted by nearly every credit reporting site out there. When you use a service to check your own score, this has no impact on your rating. But when you apply for a line of credit, and a creditor is required to check your score, this may bring down your rating.

If you don’t use a card you should close it.

Find that you aren’t using a card as often as you used to? It’s not always wise to close the account just because the card is sitting unused in your wallet. A portion of your credit score is determined by the length a line of credit is open, so if you can, try and use the card at least once every so often to avoid the creditor closing your account entirely.

You can improve your score immediately by paying off debt.

You should always try and make your monthly payments. But if you miss a payment, making that payment (even the very next day) won’t remove the problem from your score. Missed payments can drop your score fairly significantly, so it’s critical to pay off credit timely, and in full, if you can.