There are 2 sides to credit: Score and credit file. A person can have a 700 credit score. You'd think that he can get a good conventional loan, but if he only has one credit card that's been open for a year and nothing else, he doesn't qualify for a conventional and will have to go FHA. FHA at that point will require alternative credit and if he doesn't pay rent, have a cell phone or pay utilities, he can't buy (other things can be used but this is for illustration only).
So, poor credit can be defined as poor score or poor credit file. Let's look at both. If you just have to buy a house or the whole world will cave in, there are lenders (AFR Wholesale, 1st Guarantee) that will work with scores as low as 580 and 530 respectively. However, you can't any open collections in the last 12 months. You have to have 3 open credit lines for 2 years each. The reason a person has a 580 score is because they have open collections (unless they maxed out all their cards instead).
If you can wait, you'll be much better off. Getting a score of 620 requires 2 things: Get rid of bad credit. Get good credit. If an account is over a year old and is no longer reporting to the bureau, it does not affect the score. If you pay it off, you'll have a new collection with a zero balance and your scores will tank. It doesn't mean don't pay them, it means don't touch them until you talk to a trained professional (sounds like a stunt man commercial) that understand how credit works. Let the loan officer tell you what to pay off and when. If you have a hint that the loan officer doesn't know what they are doing, ask to speak to the underwriter instead as they make the decision to approve your loan.
Good credit can be obtained by getting a secured card from companies like Orchard, Wells Fargo, Capital One. Make sure they don't pull your credit and that they report to all 3 credit bureaus. You will give them $300 and they give you a Visa/MC. You go spend $10 each month and pay it off in full. Don't leave zero balances as the bureau doesn't recognize zero balances. It's always good to leave a little something on the card just before the loan officer pulls credit. Never go above 25% of your credit limit. Within 6 payments (not 6 months), your credit should start to heal. You can make a payment every 2.5 to 3 weeks to shorten the time frame. After 6 months of steady payments, the lender will accept that with Rent payments as credit.
Please feel free to contact me with any other questions and I'll give you the links to go to for credit reports, credit card info and more free information about cleaning up your credit. Good Luck!... more
To answer your question directly, in Pennsylvania, you do not "need" to have a buyer's agent represent you. You can use the seller's Realtor or representative, you can represent yourself if you are confident you can do a good job, or you can use a legal consultant (preferrably one that specializes in Real Estate). Your decision should be made based on your needs and circumstances. You are in FL so I do not know the regulations that you must obide by.
You question is a good one and has uprooted a lot of debate amongst the Real Estate community as well as buyers and sellers. Some states in the US do not allow "dual agency". That is what it is called when a Realter represents the seller and the buyer of a property. That says a lot when a state will not recognize dual agency as a legitimate representation. One can assume there have been some serious problems with dual agency in the past thus the only solution for those states was to make it illegal.
In PA dual agency is recognized and allowed though it must be openly disclosed and agreed upon by both parties. Chris and I are doing a dual agency right now. Since we are both licensed, I have taken the lead as the buyer's agent while he remains the listing agent. The difficulty in dual agency is rooted in one simple word, loyalty.
Loyalty is based on trust and faithfullness, knowing that your interests and goals are your Realtor's only focus. When a Realtor has 2 clients in the same transaction, who is more important to them? I do not have the answer. It is difficult to be neutral which is why we personally split the duties of the dual agency when they pop up in our practice.
In our experience it is difficult but not impossible. Some Real Estate investors use the dual agency as an opportunity to get a better price on a home. We have been able to adjust our commission in a few of our dual agency contracts which allowed both buyer and seller reach their goals where it would have been impossible if they had their own Realtor representation.
I must confess that my answer to you is a little dual in nature. I want to answer your question so that you are an informed and educaed consumer. Yet, I also want to make a comment for other readers who may stumble upon this Trulia question.
My comment is this: Dual agency is difficult and should be entered into with 1) caution for some, 2) with confidence for others, and 3) completely rejected for yet others. But , removing the option for the consumer to choose is (in my opinion) not the answer to the complexities of managing a dual agency relationship. I believe educating the consumer is pretty much always the best option (not the easiest) rather than removing the freedom to choose
Sorry for the soap box statement there. I hope what I have written is well received as an opinion and certainly not intended to force dual agency on anyone. Trulia hosts a pretty sharp and opinionated crowd.