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by Robert DeFalco
on Friday, December 30th, 2016 at 6:16pm.
Everybody is working on their resolutions...
If you're hoping or planning to buy a house in 2017, you'd better make some now, and work harder at keeping them than you did last year's gym resolution! (We're not picking on you. We broke ours, too.)
Usually we decide to stop our bad habits when the day of reckoning arrives. We stop speeding after we get a ticket, jettison our midnight ice cream binges when the jeans don’t zip, ditch our crippling mime obsession when family members threaten to walk out the door. And yeah, the same impulses hold true for home buying as well.
The problem is, buying a home is not only not an instant process... and lenders go backward into your life, credit, and personal history. So even if you don't plan to purchase a home tomorrow, you'd better start making changes yesterday. Here are some tips, via Realtor.com, for resolutions you should make immediately!
Credit Card Crutch
Relying heavily on credit to get by can put you in a tight position when it comes time for your mortgage. You should ideally be using less than 30% of your available credit, and not adding to your credit card debt through the buying process.
“Credit cards can be addictive, and overuse can lead to poor decisions that adversely affect your ability to buy a home,” says Realtor® Denise Supplee with Long & Foster Real Estate in Doylestown, PA.
Train yourself to buy what you can afford to get with cash. You'll be glad you did.
Worse than compiling credit card debt is ignoring it.
“There are a lot of consumers who think it’s no big deal to miss a credit card payment, and I cannot stress enough how incorrect this is,” says Sacha Ferrandi, founder of Source Capital Funding, in San Diego. “Every missed credit card payment impacts your score.”
Make at least your minimum payments, and make them in a timely fashion.
No More Cards
Resist the temptation to open new cards, regardless of the perks offered.
Opening multiple cards—even if you don’t use them much—can signal a large spending appetite and ding your credit score. So try to open just a few cards you’ll use regularly and steer clear of any one-time offers at specific stores you don’t frequent often. Even if you don’t use the cards, the fact that you opened them will be recorded and count against you.
Don't get rid of any cards, either. Pay down your balances, keep your payments timely, and maintain the status quo.