When compared to past generations, the millennial generation is the most college-educated. If you’re part of this group, you may recall being told that a college education is essential to career advancement and wealth.
The final word on whether college was absolutely necessary is a personal matter –only you can answer whether the debt is worth it. But one thing we can all agree on is that student debt is a significant burden. So much so that housing experts say that student debt may be the cause for a drop in homeownership among Millennials.
Can this be true? With stats that show that student loans account for about $1.5 trillion in debt, surpassing even credit card and car loan debt, it certainly appears to be true. And with the cost of tuition rising plus a job market competitiveness that requires education beyond a bachelor’s, we can expect these numbers to increase.
But you don’t need stats to know that this is true. If you’re a Millennial or a Baby Boomer with a Millennial still living at home after college, then you know it. While student debt poses a significant hurdle to homeownership, there are things you can do to make it easier.
Here are our best tips for buying a home with student debt:
Focus on your credit score.
Student debt may not be the only hurdle you have to buy a home. Your credit score could also hurt your chances. Your credit, or FICO score, is what’s used to determine not only if you qualify for a mortgage but also the amount and at what interest rate. If your credit score is too low or you have a credit history that’s plagued with late payments, then you out of the running for a mortgage.
Another thing to consider is that even if you do qualify for a mortgage with poor credit, the monthly payments may be higher than you can afford. That’s why our first tip is to work on building and repairing your credit.
Work on your debt-to-income ratio.
Another factor looked at when applying for a mortgage is your debt-to-income ratio. This number is used to determine whether you can afford to carry the additional debt of a mortgage payment. Essentially, can you pay your mortgage every month?
To raise the ratio, you’ll want to increase your monthly income and lower your debt. You can focus on one or the other, but we recommend doing both. Taking a side gig to earn a few hundred a month and using a portion of that to pay off debt can make a BIG difference pretty quickly.
Research down-payment programs.
Even with student loan debt, there several down payment assistance programs that you may qualify for. Government loans like FHA, USDA, and Veteran home loans have many perks, including down payment assistance. USDA loan even has zero-down mortgages! Contact our office to learn more.
Apply for a mortgage.
This tip may seem out of place, but there’s no better way to know how close you are to buying a home than to apply to see where you stand. When you get pre-qualified, we can give you a better picture of your financial standing. We’ll also give you personalized guidance as to what would make the most significant impact on your home loan-worthiness.
Whether student debt, credit debt, bankruptcy, or poor credit, having the answers to your homeownership obstacles puts the power back in your hands. When you know the big picture and a solid plan based on facts, you’ll see how close you actually are to buying a home. Who knows –you may qualify for a low rate RIGHT NOW. Contact us today to get mortgage answers and guidance.