Posted by Sharon Lanen Coskren on 6/23/2017

Bad credit happens. Maybe you were late on some loan payments, or maybe you got a bit to swipe-happy with a credit card while you were in college. Or, maybe you were like many other Americans who took a financial hit during the housing crisis. Regardless, it can take a long time to recuperate from a bad credit score.

If youíre hoping to buy a home but have poor credit, it can seem like you donít have many options. However, there are many mortgages designed with such people in mind.

In this post, weíre going to discuss some of the options for people interested in home ownership who have low credit and ways they can achieve this goal without taking on high interest loans.

First thingís first: start prioritizing your credit

Even if you want to buy a home within the coming months, itís always a good idea to start building credit. It does take several months to see a substantial difference on your credit report, but starting now will save you in the long run and will show lenders that youíre making a difference.

To give your credit score a boost in the shortest time possible, set all of your bills on auto-payment, repay and late bills such as medical expenses, and set up payment plans wherever needed. If possible, become an authorized user on someoneís credit card and use that for everyday expenses like groceries. Doing so will help you build credit without opening new cards that have high interest.

Many types of mortgages

Mortgages come in many shapes and forms. Since lenders are in competition with one another, you can often find loans that cater to underserved markets. In this case, that market is people with low credit scores.

Call some local lenders and ask if they have programs for people with low credit. Often they will point you toward first-time homeowner loans and USDA-guaranteed mortgages. Other times they might offer loans with high down payments. But, youíll never know until you ask.

USDA and FHA Loans

Currently, USDA loans have a minimum credit score of 620. For FHA loans, lenders recently reduced the minimum score to 580. With these loans, you can pay a low, or no, down payment and still receive a mortgage loan.

The first step to getting approved for either type of loan is getting in contact with a lender to determine your eligibility. Eligibility is based on other factors such as your income, and in the case of USDA loans, the location of the home.

Other Options

If your score is lower than 580 or you donít qualify for a USDA loan, you can still find other options. One would be to pay a higher down payment on the home. This would help ensure the lender that you are able to provide income to make payments in spite of your credit history.

Another option would be to reason with your lender of choice. Most of the application process comes down to numbers, but if you can show a lender that you have substantial, reliable income, and have been making rent payments for multiple years, these can both help build your case.




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Posted by Sharon Lanen Coskren on 6/16/2017

Massachusetts is a gold mine of fun and historical things to doó and during all four seasons, from the Berkshires to the arm of Massachusetts. There are things to do for families, couples, large groups, and singles. Letís take a look at some of the best things to do in Western Massachusetts in the summer.

  1. Outdoor activities in Northern Berkshires, MA
Including whitewater rafting, zip lining, kayaking, fishing, wildlife tours, butterfly conservatory and much more. And check out the scenic railway that runs from North Adams to Adams, MA. Northern Berkshires, MA
  1. Monument Mountain in Great Barrington, MA
Hike this monumental mountain and take in views that may just take your breath away. Youíll see sights of the mountainous Berkshires and the Housatonic River Valley and make sure to explore Squaw Peak.
  1. Yankee Candle Factory in Deerfield, MA
Visit the Yankee Candle Factory and tour/shop the Bavarian village, a Christmas wonderland all year round. After you make it through the village, check out Wax Works where kids and adults can create their own candles. But most of all, take in all the scents that this flagship store has to offer. You will find seasonal scents all year round; their current scenes and you may even be in luck to find your favorite scent that is no longer sold in retail stores.
  1. Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield, MA
The Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame is a great place to visit on a hot summer day and perfect for kids and adults who love the game of basketball. Tour the museum, attend an event (on select days), and host your childís birthday party or an event, and much more.
  1. Six Flags New England in Agawam, MA
Once known as Riverside, Six Flags New England is the largest theme park in New England. There are rides and activities for all ages and plenty of food options. If you are looking for a day full of family fun then this is the place to go. So what are you waiting for?





Posted by Sharon Lanen Coskren on 6/9/2017

The biggest area of your life that you need to understand before you buy a house is your own finances. Before you know what kind of house you can buy, youíll need to understand your own buying power. While things like square footage, how many bedrooms you need, and finding the right neighborhood are important, you canít go very far without some type of financing. While understanding how much you can spend on a property is one of the more serious parts of buying a home, itís something that youíll want to do. Knowing what you can spend on a home is a step to helping you land a home you love. If you understand your own numbers, youíll know the chances that you have of an offer being accepted on a place you love.  


The Elements Of Your Buying Power


Your Credit Score


This little three digit number has a lot of meaning behind it. This is the most basic piece of information that lenders use to determine your loan worthiness. The factors that influence your credit score include:


  • Payment history
  • How much you owe
  • Length of your credit history
  • Mix of credit accounts
  • How much new credit you have opened


A low credit score is somewhere under 620. Having a score this low doesn't necessarily mean that youíll be denied for a loan, but the type and amount of the loan youíre offered can be impacted. Youíll also face higher interest rates because of a low credit score. This means your mortgage could be considerably more expensive than if you had a higher credit score. 


Down Payment


The 20 percent down as a rule of thumb actually offers many benefits to your buying power. This means that youíll need 20% down of the purchase price of the home in cash. If you put this amount of money (or even more) down on a home, it eliminates the need for you to have to buy PMI (Private Mortgage Insurance). Youíll even be able to negotiate a lower interest rate. A large down payment may be especially helpful in competitive markets where there is a lot of buyer competition.


How Your Financial Picture Appears


Your assets and your debt-to-income ratio are also important factors in your financial picture that you present to the lender. Basically, all of these numbers let both the lender and the seller see how committed you are to buying a home. It is one of the biggest financial undertakings of your entire life. If you canít show financial responsibility, then it may be a bit difficult for lenders to see that youíll actually pay your loan back in a timely manner.


The better all of your financial numbers are, the more buying power that youíll have. If your numbers are good, youíll be able to afford more house. While it may not be the most exciting thing to look over all of your financial numbers, itís a vital step in the process of your journey to home ownership.




Tags: Buying a home   finances  
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Posted by Sharon Lanen Coskren on 6/3/2017

Don't drive by! Once you paint the exterior, you will gain instant equity. Other than that, this house is a big win. A fantastic location on a quiet side street, brand new bathroom, newer windows and electrical, newer hardwoods in all of the good sized bedrooms. There's a nice sized living room for entertaining, a quaint office area to work from home. This is the perfect way to get into North Andover and all it has to offer. Don't want to mow a huge lawn? Spend your time instead walking to downtown, playground, schools, library, shops and restaurants. Feel like a hike? Walk to beautiful trails of Weir Hill. Adorable private backyard with potting shed where you can relax on your patio and host family and friends for summer barbecues. What a gem!

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Posted by Sharon Lanen Coskren on 6/3/2017

Great second floor location in Heritage Greens pet friendly development! Start your morning enjoying a cup of coffee on the adorable deck overlooking leafy trees. Light and bright unit with eat in kitchen with large window and open concept. Living room has great space and sliders to the deck. Two nice sized bedrooms complete the condo. Lots of storage space with multiple closets and a storage bay in the pull down attic. This location is prime for getting anywhere in town and makes commuting a breeze. It's easy to get to shops, schools and highways. The condo fee includes heat, hot water, water and sewer. Plus you have an exercise room, clubroom, inground swimming pool and tennis court. Lots to keep you busy and active and all of this for a great price in North Andover! Come by the Open House Sunday 11:00-12:30. This will go quickly!

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