ISouth Orange

Your Plan of Attack
Strengthen your Credit
Do your “Home’work"
Types of Homes
The Home Inspection
The Closing
Closing Costs

Marketing your Home
Pricing your Home
Telling the World
Protect your Privacy & Security
Creating Curb Appeal
Home Improvements
School and municipality info listed by county & town.



Real Estate Information for Buyers:
Strengthen your Credit

Checking your credit rating early on in your ‘plan of attack’ is a prudent step, even if you think you have excellent credit. You may not be aware of errors or disputed items that could be on your report and it’s best that you correct these items before applying for a home mortgage. If there are inaccuracies in your report, you will need to write a letter to the appropriate credit bureau explaining away the errors or disputes. Credit bureaus typically help you straighten things out in under 30 days.

A few tips about credit reports:
  • After seven years (10 for bankruptcy) adverse credit information should be removed from your credit report.
  • Inactive credit cards with higher credit limits may be looked upon as potential debt. Officially cancel all used credit cards prior to your mortgage application process (Speaking of credit cards... refrain from making any big-ticket purchases during your home search and application for a mortgage loan).

After cleaning up your credit report, the next step is to determine the amount of home you can afford. is important so you know your buying power. Your buying power will provide you with a reasonable and realistic expectation when it comes time to look for a home. There are two terms you will hear in the mortgage application process that sound alike but whose meanings are quite different: Pre-qualification and Pre-approval. First, you and your agent should conduct the pre-qualification process before you start house-hunting. The "pre-qualifying" process examines your income, assets and present debt to provide you with an estimate as to what you may be able to afford on a house purchase. The key words are "may be able to afford." Be honest with your agent and prepared to provide a monthly accounting of all sources of income and expenses. The mortgage "pre-approval" is similar to having money in the bank. It's strength for you as a home buyer. Pre-approval is a written commitment from your lender as to the amount of money that institution will lend you to buy the home of your dreams. You can present this commitment to the seller. The pre-approval spells out for the seller exactly what you qualify for and at what rate, bring that seller a peace of mind and giving you a leg-up on other potential buyers. For you, as the buyer, the pre-approval is important for multiple reasons:

  1. it indicates the amount of your monthly mortgage payments,
  2. outlines the amount you'll need for a down payment, and
  3. eliminates the frustration of finding homes that you think are perfect but are not in your price range. A cautionary note: Be certain you want to buy a new home because a pre-approval does cost money; money you could lose if you decide not to buy or choose to work with another mortgage representative.