How to Buy a House in Massachusetts with Bad Credit
Keep these 5 things in mind, and see your credit soar!
For many buyers in Massachusetts, buying a house is already a complicated task. But having bad credit should not be an obstacle to buying a house, nor do you need perfect credit to successfully buy a property in MA. So, the real question here is how to buy a house with bad credit?
There are some loans that don’t even require a credit check, but in general, these loans have a higher down payment and interest rate, making them a not-so-attractive option. The other option would be fixing your credit score. Don’t pay a company thousands of dollars to fix your bad credit. You can do this yourself with my tips and some education. In as fast as 3 months, your credit could be worthy of a loan at any bank with the correct advice – and the corresponding actions to fix it. Fixing bad credit is easier than you would imagine. I will teach you some quick tips that might boost your credit tremendously and allow you to buy a house in Massachusetts or any other state faster than you can imagine.
This is how the bank looks at your credit score in general terms:
Excellent: 800 to 850
Very Good: 740 to 799
Good: 670 to 739
Fair: 580 to 669
Poor: 300 to 579
Keep in mind that the Federal Housing Administration, or FHA, requires a credit score of at least 500 to buy a home with an FHA loan. A minimum of 580 is needed to make the minimum down payment of 3.5%. The bar is set relatively low to give everyone a shot at becoming a homeowner. So, buying a house with bad credit is still possible.
Now that you know you’re not as far as you thought let’s understand how credit is established before buying a house with bad credit.
What affects your credit score?
Credit scores are determined by on-time payment history, credit usage percentage, credit age, number of hard inquiries, etc. Nobody seems to know exactly how the mathematical formula to determine a credit score works, but in general, this will guarantee you an excellent credit score and make you a trustworthy borrower in the eyes of the bank.
Keep these 5 things in mind for the following months, and watch your credit score fly through the roof if you’re wondering how to buy a house with bad credit.
1. Always pay on time!
Paying on time is probably the most important factor in building solid credit. For a borrower to trust you, they need to ensure that you have a good history of paying back debt. When buying a house with bad credit, this is the first factor you should look at.
Pro tip: set a reminder on your phone to get a notification every month three days before your due dates. With this, you’ll be on top of your on-time payments!
2. Maintain your credit usage % low
Having a low percentage of debt compared to the amount of credit that is available to you will boost your credit score tremendously. I would say this is the factor where most people fail on. Just a quick rule of thumb is trying to keep your credit usage under 10%. If you have a $1,000 credit card and owe $800 on it, the bank will interpret that as a risky financial move. Also, the bank will be less likely to increase your balance in the future due to your high credit use of 80%.
A quick hack to decreasing your credit usage percentage is:
Reach out to a family member or close friend that has credit cards with a high limit and is very financially organized. Ask them to add you to one of their cards, but be sure to let them know you wouldn’t even have to carry the card with you, and you don’t intend on using it. If he or she can add you to their credit card, this strategy is known as piggybacking.
Now let’s say that card you were added to has a limit of $10,000, and they owe $1,000. Therefore, now you have a credit limit of $11,000 (your card plus theirs), and your “debt” would be $1,800 (your debt plus theirs), bringing your credit usage percent down to 16.4%. Believe me; your credit will skyrocket! One thing to be super careful with this strategy is if they miss a payment, technically you did too, so make sure this person is trustworthy and very responsible with their payments.
3. Have a High Average credit age
Average credit age is the sum of the age of all your credit cards and loans divided by the number of accounts you have. The older your accounts, the better. Instead of opening a new card, ask your current banks to increase your credit limit on your existing cards. This will increase your available credit and decrease your credit usage. The bank often won’t even run your credit because they already feel comfortable dealing with you. On the other side, if you get a new credit card, they will check your credit 99% of the time.
4. Never Close a Credit Card if you’re trying to buy a house with bad credit!
People have this strange misconception that they should only keep the cards they use. If you close your credit card, this will affect you in several ways.
First, it will decrease the amount of credit available to you and increase your credit usage.
Second, it will subtract from your average credit age. If you were to close your oldest credit card, your score would plummet.
5. Credit Inquiries
The number of credit inquiries you have will also affect your score, so try not to pull your credit unnecessarily. Whenever a credit check is necessary, ask if you can bring in your credit check. You can check your credit FOR FREE once every 12 months here.
If a credit check is necessary, make sure you ask them for a copy. Credit reports are valid for 120 days as determined by Fannie Mae guidelines, and many times, those scores will come in handy. Let’s say you are looking to buy a house: you can go from lender to lender with your credit report within that time frame and see who can get you the best rate.
EXTRA: The last tip to boosting your credit and not worrying about buying a house with bad credit is:
– Checking your credit for unusual activity and disputes.
One of the most common cases is unauthorized credit checks. You have the right to dispute these with a simple form that has to be submitted to the credit bureaus, letting them know you should not have that on your credit.
Now that you know how to take care of your credit on your own, you don’t need to pay a credit repair company. This is the first step to becoming the homeowner you want to be.
I hope we were able to answer how to buy a house with bad credit.
I’m Juan Cano, a real estate agent very excited to help you start your journey to buy a house. Get in touch today and discover how I could help you get closer to your dream home!