Since buying a house is rarely a spur-of-the-moment decision, the shrewdest way to use any lead time is to fortify your side of the coming transaction. After all, there will be two sides striking that bargain.
For their side, the sellers will have to spruce up the property, prepare a marketing plan, post their Grand Forks area listing, and then open their home to the public and to you—and later, to your inspector. For your side, you need do nothing more than to work with your agent to craft an acceptable offer—and to provide convincing proof that your offer is genuine.
That’s where you can use this advance time to fortify your position. If you will be a cash buyer, you already go to the front of the line. Otherwise, it’s up to you to put the credit rating system to work in your favor.
The good news is that with little effort you can use this advance time to bolster your rating. Since most competing buyers won’t take similar action until they are ready to start house hunting, it’s how you can get a jump on the competition. Here are three moves that can strengthen your buying power:
- The first move is the same one you hear everywhere, but it’s vital. Sign up for one of the free services that let you review your scores from each of the three credit reporting agencies. Knowledge is power, and you need to target weak spots in order to strengthen them.
- If there are any least-favorite creditors—those who report one or more late payments—consider contacting a credit repair professional to see if they can have negative instances removed from your report. They may succeed quickly if you are dealing with one-time mistakes or if a change of bank or other technical snag caused tardy payments. Be sure to have your account ID numbers and the dates of any negative incidents handy.
- Consider contacting your favorite creditors to discuss a credit limit increase. If they say yes, ask whether the increase would trigger a “hard inquiry.” If it doesn’t, ask for the increase: raising the limit will shrink the percentage owed. On the other hand, if requesting the increase will cause a hard inquiry, it’s best to decline if you plan on buying a house in the coming year. Each additional inquiry temporarily lowers your score from six months to a year.
Strong credit is an important building block for widening your choices when it comes to buying a great Grand Forks area house. Call us for reliable help in all phases—from the earliest pre-house-hunting days all the way to closing!