Buying a home has always been a HUGE part of living the ‘ol American dream; but for most millennials, so now are student loans. In fact, studies show that most recent (and semi-recent) graduates are holding off on hitting major life milestones (i.e. getting married, buying a house, having children etc.), not to rebel, but because of their massive amount of student loan debt. So is it really possible for borrowers to have it all in 2018? YES! But you have to know the proper way to navigate around the red tape before you can get approved. If you’re looking for your forever home (or at least your for-now home) check out our top 5 financial tips for buying property – even when you have student loan debt.
1.) Lower your DTI
DTI stands for your debt to income ratio. What this number basically does is show your potential lender how much available cash you have to spend each month. The lower your DTI (or money you owe towards bills and debt), the more money you have to spend on other things such as a down-payment on a house or even your monthly mortgage payment. Getting this number in check will ultimately give you more lending power and better rates. Now that you know what DTI is and does, here’s how to lower it. First, try and pay off as many small debts as possible. If you’ve got a store credit card floating around with an affordable balance, or an old medical bill with $50 bucks left, pay it off. Second, if you took out a car loan for your ride, see if you can refinance for a lower APR if/when they are available. Or, take this tip one step further and get rid of your car all together (if you can of course). With carpools and ride shares available just about everywhere now, there may not be a need to have one (or especially two car payments) in one household. Lastly, if you haven’t already done so, consolidate your student loans!
2.) Consolidate your student loans
Over 44 million people in the U.S. are STILL trying to pay off their student loan debt! Yikes! One of the best ways to free up the cash you need now and potentially lower your DTI is to consolidate your student loans and get into a repayment plan that best fits your income. The Department of Education offers tons of awesome programs to help you LOWER (or even eliminate) your monthly student loan payment for those who qualify. Woohoo! Third party pros like Docupop are always here to help you file for your fav if and when you need us. To get started and see which plans are available to you, click the button below and consider step #2, donzo!
3.) Boost your credit
To maintain a good credit score, you have to demonstrate a history of paying off debt and being up-to-date on all of your payments. If you currently have problems paying your bills, the worst thing you can do is avoid them! Even when you try to hide, unfortunately your debt will eventually find you. So instead of risking a default (which can drastically damage your score) try and work with each creditor (i.e. your credit card companies, auto lenders, medical offices etc.) to see if you can get into a repayment plan that you know you can pay each month. If you’ve already made some mistakes in the past and/or if you think there may be some inaccurate data on your credit report, have an expert take a look! Companies like Shoreline Credit Repair thoroughly analyze your account to help you dispute any false claims and find ways to help make improvements down the road. You can check them out here: https://www.shorelinecreditrepair.com to see if they can help. Lastly, for those who haven’t started to build credit yet, START! It might be scary at first, but taking out a loan or a credit card is great way to put the gears in motion. Start small and ONLY buy the things you know you can afford! IMPORTANT: if you’re looking to boost your credit, be sure to pay off your card(s) in-full each month; even a single missed payment or especially buying things you can’t really pay for – could put you in even more debt, so make sure you always have the cash in your account to match anything you purchase. Don’t get swipe happy! After a few full, on-time payments, your score will start climbing the credit ladder in no time.
4.) Get PRE-APPROVED!
To save time and avoid some very unnecessary stress, make sure to get pre-approved BEFORE you ever start clicking around on housing sites. Knowing what and how much you realistically have to work with is crucial! There’s nothing worse than falling in love with your dream home only to be one up’d by the folks next to you with a pre-approved application in-hand! Put yourself ahead of the game and make sure to DO STEPS #1 – #3 BEFORE YOU START THE PRE-APPROVAL PROCESS to ensure that you get the absolute best deal possible.
5.) Prioritize your NEEDS
Sure, the ocean front oasis is at the top of just about everyone’s wish list; but in case you’re not pulling that million dollar salary yet, you may want to prioritize the things your really want/need in a home and consider making some compromises on your first purchase. Love the walkable nightlife and scenic views? Location might be your number #1 then; but keep in mind that you may have to sacrifice space and amenities for the hottest spot on the block. Planning for a family someday? You might want to look in the outskirts of your favorite neighborhood to get the space you need at a price point that’s a bit more affordable. Now that you’ve hopefully been pre-approved, you should know exactly how much you have to work with to give you a better idea of where and what to look for from here.
Happy house hunting!
Disclaimer: DocuPop is a private company, not affiliated with the Department of Education. The DOE offers several programs that may offer lower monthly loan payments for borrowers who meet the qualifications based on income and family size. Lower monthly payments may lead to longer student loan maturity periods, increasing the total amount of interest over the life of the loan. The DOE also offers programs that may forgive some or all of the borrower’s loan balance. The Public Service Loan Forgiveness program (PSLF) is based on the number of qualified payments made under the program while working full-time for a qualifying employer. Other programs require a specific number of qualifying payments and then forgive the remaining balance once those payments are completed, without any public service obligation. Depending on the type of forgiveness, any amounts forgiven may be treated as taxable income for income tax purposes, please consult your tax professional. More information can be found on the DOE website: https://studentaid.ed.gov/sa/repay-loans/forgiveness-cancellation
*DocuPop is not affiliated with Shoreline Credit Repair. Shoreline Credit Repair is an affiliate of Worthyy, a preferred partner of DocuPop. Always be sure to do your own research and look into credit repair companies to see if they’re a good company for you.
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