“I’m not a very productive person, but I recently finished the internet. When you do, a picture of Bill Gates appears, and you get to enter your initials.” Traveling between appointments and listening to the radio recently, I heard comedian David O’Doherty share this little tidbit that made me laugh. As he went on to observe how ironic it was that a bald man was making fun of his hair, I thought more about his internet comment and concluded that this should be the subject of this week’s edition of our award-winning publication. If you’re scratching your head and wondering where I’m going with this, then you’re probably new to our weekly missive. For those of you who are veterans, you’re probably just saying, “Get on with it! I have a flan in the oven and don’t have time for this twaddle!” To the newbies, welcome! To the veterans, please don’t invite me over for dessert!
With inventories reaching historic lows in the real estate market and interest rates starting to inch their way up over time, we’re seeing one of two things: a mass exodus out of the industry or a doubling down by both real estate agents and loan originators. For those of you who are currently wading into the buying pool or are poised on the very edge with your toes testing the waters, this is actually a good thing. While the lack of inventory obviously reduces your choices of homes, this phenomenon that is causing so many to bail out is culling the herd and leaving you with agents and originators who are serious, experienced, and savvy. What else does this mean to you, the consumer?
For example, “knowing” your credit score can be quite deceiving. Just because one of the many services being advertised on TV tells you that you have a credit score that’s 800+, that doesn’t mean you’re going to qualify for the loan you want. Why? The reason could be that you’re only six months into a new job in a new industry, so most underwriters are going to require additional factors that will make your loan go in a different direction. In other words, every situation is treated on its own merits, and credit score is only ONE factor in a sometimes very complex equation. What you should really do is meet with a mortgage company – even if you’re 12 months away from when you THINK you’re ready to buy a house – and have them pull your credit REPORT. They’ll then be able to help you craft a plan that will get you a loan approval BEFORE you even start looking at homes. When you have that approval, you’ll be unstoppable as you go out to look at houses and there are seven other parties who want THAT house. This is one of those moments when it would be appropriate to stick your tongue out at others.
So, while it may seem intriguing to spend your time “finishing the internet” so you can get to that elusive Bill Gates photo and the chance to enter your initials, your time will be better spent getting ready to buy a home – if you do your loan with me, I promise not to send you my photo.