Home Buying in Tampa>Question Details

Tracee Ashley, Home Buyer in Tampa, FL

Hi my husband and I are looking to buy a home we will be first time home buyers but credit scores are not that great where should we start

Asked by Tracee Ashley, Tampa, FL Wed Dec 4, 2013

Help the community by answering this question:


I strongly disagree with the people that have suggested hiring a credit repair expert. Disputing accurate information in your credit file just because it is negative in nature is a very serious crime. Doing that is fraud, any misrepresentation to a lender in order to get a loan approved is a crime, period. Avoid working with any loan officer or Realtor that makes such a suggestion. If they will do that to a lender just imagine what they are willing to do to you!

Credit scores are odds, the higher the score the more likely the loan will be repaid as agreed. The lower the scores the less likely that is true and at some point that the borrower will even be ABLE to make payments as agreed. Interesting concept isn’t it, betting against yourself? That is what is happening when borrowers use the lender’s minimum thresholds as their goal.

But there are steps you can take to improve your odds that are perfectly legal. Find a Realtor you trust and have them introduce you to the local loan officer they trust the most. Review your credit report with the LO. Take care of any past issues, working from the smallest/most frequently reporting, and then work your way up the list.

Make sure you have at least 3 open accounts paid as agreed.

Keep balances on credit cards below 25% of the limit. If the card has a $400 limit, never have a balance more than $100, not even for an hour or two. Keep it low but have some activity every month - the way you manage the money is what is being tracked by the credit score matrix. Good luck,

Jim Simms
NMLS # 6395
Financing Kentucky One Home at a Time
I answer questions about financing real estate based on my decades of experience dealing with mortgage underwriters. This answer is my personal opinion, has not been reviewed or approved by the company I work for. I do not offer legal or tax advice, if you need answers from an attorney or CPA find one knowledgeable in your local market.
Web Reference: http://jamessimms.com/
1 vote Thank Flag Link Thu Dec 5, 2013

Get started by visiting a mortgage representative to get pre-approved. They will be able to best advise you on what you will need to do...if anything.

The next step, regardless of being able to purchase now or after you have "mended some fences" is to begin collecting information about your target locations. This knowledge will make you better prepared to make a decision, when the time is right and you are in a serious hunt.

Best wishes,

1 vote Thank Flag Link Thu Dec 5, 2013
Find a lender you trust and have them help you work on it. Go to you local bank or ask friends who they use. After your credit is run you can figure out how to improve the score.
Good luck
1 vote Thank Flag Link Thu Dec 5, 2013
Please contact the attorney's office below who does credit repair and is very good at it.

Anthony W Serber, PA

The Law Offices of Anthony W. Surber, PA concentrates its practice in the areas of residential and commercial real estate transactions (including short sales), title insurance, family law/divorces, commercial litigation, short sales, foreclosures, corporate law, personal injury and credit repair. Mr. Surber has several years of legal experience, has served as in-house counsel for a well respected Bay area corporation and practiced with a large Bay area law firm. We understand that customer service is our top priority.

Practice Areas

The firm focuses on residential and commercial real estate transactions, with a heavy concetration on title insurance and closing services. We also practice in the following areas:
•Short sales and other alternatives to foreclosure
•Representation of buyers/sellers in residential and commercial real estate transactions
•Real Estate Litigation
•Child Support
•Name Changes
•Pre-nuptial and post-nuptial agreements
•Personal Injury
•Commercial Litigation
•Credit Repair

The Law Offices of:
Anthony W. Surber, P.A.
4809 Ehrlich Road, Suite 102
Tampa, Florida 33624
(813) 908-6800 Telephone
(813) 908-6830 Facsimile

This is the first thing you should do to raise your credit score to be able to qualify for a loan and special First Time Buyer programs.

Tom Scaglione, ePRO, SFR, REALTOR
Future Home Realty, Inc.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Thu Dec 5, 2013
Hello Mrs. Ashley,

First thing you should do is get copies of BOTH your credit reports.
You will want to make sure the information on them is correct.

Next, speak with a mortgage consultant. I suggest you speak with some one at the bank or credit union where you do your personal banking.

They can inform you if you can qualify for a loan now, and if not they can give you some advice on how to improve your scores, or reduce some debt to get yourself in a better position to be approved at a later date.

I wish you the very best!

Kawain Payne, Realtor
Prudential California Realty
1 vote Thank Flag Link Wed Dec 4, 2013
Please contact a lender or your bank first and get a pre-approval letter.

Raji Gali
Real Estate Professional
Horizon Realty international Inc.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Dec 6, 2013
I am assuming that you are not referring to my comments since I never suggested disputing accurate information. If you are, please re-read my comments and retract yours.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Dec 5, 2013
Always start by talking to a loan officer. They will be the one to qualify you for the loan and help to get you ready if you need to work on your credit score. Once you have that, then start looking.
Good Luck,
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Dec 5, 2013
Jared is right, contacting a local lender is important, as he can guide you in terms of what tactics to use to increase score after reviewing your credit report. For example, pay down credit cards to 30% of the credit limit, etc. but often, there are inaccuracies being recorded to the bureaus, so that's where the credit restoration company comes in. They know how to directly work with the bureaus on your behalf to remove the inaccuracies. I am Tampa mortgage lender with more than 20 years experience. Feel free to contact me for more information and a free evaluation of your credit situation. My number is 813-308-9576.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Dec 5, 2013
The first place to start is by contacting a local lender to see where you stand. If you guys aren't up to par, the lender can advise you the best way to improve your credit. I wouldn't pay for a "credit repair" service, as a lender can give you the same advice without charging you. There is no secret to "quick" credit repair. Good luck to you!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Dec 5, 2013
Invest a little bit of money at hire a credit repair company to help clean it up. I recommend Heartland Credit Restoration (Not a paid endorsement).They have done miracles for many of my clients. They will help you set the path in restoring it.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Dec 5, 2013
Also do not fall prey to some of the "rent to own" schemes. In the end you could end up paying above market rents and never actually get to own the house. If you decide to go that very risky route, pay an attorney a few hundred dollars to review your "rent to own" agreement so you don't get taken advantage of.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Dec 5, 2013
Hi Tracee,

All great advise so far.

Also I would highly recommend attending one of Dave Ramsey's Financial Peace University programs at a local church or community center. Wish I'd found out about this years ago!


Lastly there is the NACA program that may be able to help. You will have to jump through some hoops and don't let the zero down influence you because it would require a seller to give you 6% of the sale price. In this market with more buyers than sellers that is highly unlikely a Seller will donate 6% of the sale price to your closing costs. If you go with the NACA program make sure to select your Realtor FIRST and have your Realtor input your details. Otherwise you will have to work with a Realtor that is assigned to you. It's best to work with a Realtor you're comfortable with.

Hope this helps.

All the best,
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Dec 5, 2013

The first thing you should do is to make an appointment with both a Realtor and Mortgage broker. Gather up your W-2 forms, last 2 years of tax returns and any other financial information that you may have. There is a BIG difference between being pre qualified and pre-approved.

If you are serious about buying get yourself pre-approved not pre qualified, in that way the lender would have gone through your credit history and all of your financial information and rendered a decision as to whether or not they are going to lend you the funds needed to buy a home.

Generally this meeting doesn't take long and you can get an appointment within a few days. I see that you are in Tampa feel free to call me if you need further guidance. We also have an in house mortgage broker that can answer all of your questions.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Dec 4, 2013
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