Buying your first house with your husband is a very exciting experience. You decide that your finances are in order enough to take the plunge so you head on down to the bank, give them your information, get approved for the loan quickly, meet up with your realtor, find your dream house and move in next month….or it might not happen quite that easily.
This scenario may be true for some but it has not been for us. There are many struggles in the home buying process but the hardest struggle for us personally was the area of credit. For some reason we forgot that to get approved for a loan the mortgage company will have to run your credit and when they do, you actually need a score.
Growing up, Kyle and I heard horror stories of people being overrun by debt or that missing a payment on a credit card would stay with your credit score for seven years. We were both EXTREMELY blessed that Kyle went to the Marine Corps after high school and therefore had no school debt and can use his GI Bill, and that my loving, beautiful parents set me up for life in the best way possible by helping with my tuition so I do not have to pay school loans. So at this point, neither of us have any debt (praise the Lord!) and neither of us had previously opened any credit cards.
This leads to not having a bad credit score, but no score at all.
We started our process by going to a lender connected to where we bank. I’m not going to name any names but it is a larger bank in our area, therefore their hands were tied with the loan process until we both had substantial credit scores. They told us to open three lines of credit and use them and make the payments for three months and we would check again. We opened two lines of credit and tried for a third but got rejected. Later we found out that it doesn’t look good on a credit report if you try to open several lines in a short period. We stuck with the two lines and waited the three longgg months.
If you’ve ever looked for a house, one of the sites you probably have used is Zillow. I have a love-hate relationship with this site. I have spent way too much time on there and I think I’ve found about 12 dream homes at this point. I guess it’s good I got the hang of not getting too attached to one way before we are even able to buy. A house is very important, but I believe there will be a house that suits us whenever the time is right.
So we called the lender the day after our credit statement posted, which we knew because we splurged and signed up for freecreditreport.com, and they ran our reports and saw that Kyle had some credit but I still had none. Our first emotion was frustration; we did everything we needed to yet we had to pretty much start over. Apparently, Kyle was the primary user on the credit lines we opened and I was an authorized user. After several calls to the credit card companies and credit bureaus, the result was that the correct information was sent in but the bureaus didn’t recognize an authorized user as being substantial enough to put on my credit score. So I opened up a credit card as the primary user.
Right about this time my mom heard about a different mortgage company that would use alternate lines of credit to help get approved for a loan. I called them up and told them our situation and they said they would be able to do an FHA loan for us if we could provide 12 months history of on time payments for four alternate lines of credit such as rent, phone, insurance, and electric bills. This was already a more promising situation for us, but because Kyle is a veteran we wanted to utilize the benefits of the VA loan. Initially, we were going to need to wait until I had a little more credit to get approved for this kind of loan, but we would be able to tack on the alternate lines of credit to help.
A few days later I received a call from the lender I was working with and she had talked to her boss who also went and talked to their boss about our situation. They said they could do the loan for us without waiting for my credit score to appear as long as we had two months mortgage in the bank along with the alternate credit lines. I almost asked her if she was serious. I couldn’t believe this thing might actually happen after four to five months of trying. Kyle and I collected all the information they needed and submitted it to get approved...
And, I’m sorry to cut off the ending of this story, but this is currently where we stand--waiting for approval. But the awesome thing is you get to share in the outcome with us! Whether happiness or a little bit more struggle, we will praise the Lord in his awesome timing and truly believe He is leading us on our journey to buying our first home.
My main point in sharing all these details is to help anyone who may be going through this process to understand it better. Some of you may have read this and thought, “Duh you need a credit score!” but I hope some parts were more like, “I didn’t know you could do that.” I want my experiences to help others in their journeys so please let me know if you have any questions or comments!
I will definitely keep you updated on our situation. Prayers are greatly accepted!
Give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.
-1 Thessalonians 5:18