Here’s some good news for 2012: “If your New Year’s resolutions include buying a house or refinancing,” writes Vickie Elmer in the New York Times, “the Federal Reserve has you covered.” The Fed has committed to maintaining low long-term interest rates through the year, so a 30-year mortgage will be pegged about where it is now, with average fixed mortgage rates in the U.S. over the past week finishing the year near all-time lows, at 3.95%.

If you are planning to buy or refinance, consider these tips for maximizing your creditworthiness:

  • Start taking steps now, experts say. Rather than look for a house you really want, first find out how much money you can afford to borrow, and what you can do in the next three to six months to improve your creditworthiness.
  • Begin by ordering copies of your credit reports and reviewing them for inaccuracies or disputes.
  • Do not close any credit accounts now; doing so can reduce your score, and banks like to see two to four accounts in the applicant’s name.
  • Once your credit score is established, identify two or three mortgage bankers or brokers with whom you may want to work.
  • Determine what your down payment and other out-of-pocket costs will be as you figure out what you can afford to buy. Remember to estimate closing costs, including taxes and fees.
  • Finally, keep an eye on those interest rates. Mr. Nothaft expects the 30-year fixed mortgage rate to end the year “well below 5 percent” — which could still mean a 0.75-point increase a year from now.

Read the New York Times article.

See All Charleston Real Estate Stories

The Finest Real Estate
in Town and County

Our Latest
From Instagram