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Ask Joe Money

question-mark-moneyWe get a lot of questions at The Mortgage Insider. It seemed to me that it would be a good idea to have my alter ego, Joe Money, handle some of them for me. Here’s what showed up in the ol’ mailbox this week:

Dear Joe Money:

I keep reading about how the banks are only lending money to people with perfect credit. My wife had a late payment on her Macy’s card this year, so our credit score is down to 695. Can we still get a loan?

Responsible Hubby

Dear Hubby:

Many people have minor dings on their credit. The fact is that lenders do NOT require “perfect” credit to approve a loan. For a conventional loan, you could have a credit score as low as 620 and still be approved. That loan will have a higher rate than for someone with a score of 740 or higher—about .75% higher—but you may also be able to improve your scores a lot by paying down some credit card balances and resolving collection accounts, if you have any. Good luck!

Joe Money

Dear Joe Money,

I have just discovered that I got a 30 day late payment on my Macy’s card earlier this year. My hubby promised to mail the payment, but stuck it in his briefcase for three weeks before mailing it, so they reported us as late for 30 days. Can I still get a mortgage?

Responsible Wife

Dear Wife:

I am totally sympathetic to your plight. First, you can still get a mortgage, although it may be a bit more expensive. If your payment on that account is normally on time, you may be able to sweet-talk the credit department into removing that one entry, since you’re such a good customer. As for your problem with your hubby, that is a common problem; you might want to think twice before you entrust a payment to him in the future.

Joe Money

Dear Joe Money,

My wife and I have been renting for ten years. Our landlord has just raised our rent by $200 a month, so we are thinking about moving. Can we buy a house now, or should we wait until the prices and rates come back down?

Want a House

Dear Want,

Interest rates are still lower than they have been for years, and prices are reasonable. Both rates and prices are on the rise, though, so you may consider that your landlord is doing you a favor by causing you to think about owning a home. As a first-time buyer, you may be eligible for down payment assistance programs. There’s a program in California, for example, that will get you into a home for a down payment of ½%! If you are planning to stay put for a few years, owning your home could cost you quite a lot less than renting. You should talk to a lender to get pre-approved and start the process without delay.

Joe Money

Dear Joe Money,

I just bought a house with my girlfriend. I went away for a weekend, but when I came home, she had changed the locks. What should I do now?

Caught in Calabasas

Dear Caught,

Dude, I think you have mistaken me for Dear Abby. Write back when you have an actual mortgage question. Good luck!

Joe Money

If you have a question about mortgages, real estate or the meaning of life for Joe Money, just fill out the form below.

Until next time!

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