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    Thinking of buying a home sometime next year? Then forget pledging to eat healthier or get more sleep this NYE.

    Instead, make these financially-focused New Year’s resolutions and put yourself on the path to affordable homeownership:

    Improve your credit score — even just a little bit.

    Work on paying down your debts and credit card balances, and set up auto payments so that nothing falls through the cracks. While these small changes won’t get you a 100% perfect score, they will give your existing FICO a little boost — and even a small increase can mean lower interest rates and an easier mortgage process when it comes time to buy.

    Avoid new cards and loans.

    Don’t apply for any new loans, credit cards, or other types of credit when home buying is on your radar. Not only will this result in a hard credit inquiry (which hurts your credit score), but it will also send up a red flag to your future lender. “Can this buyer really be financially responsible if they’re taking out additional credit right before buying a home?”

    Start squirreling away.

    The down payment is only one of many expenses you’ll need to cover when you’re ready to buy a home. There are also closing costs (which typically equal about 2 to 3% of the home’s purchase price), as well as moving costs, the costs for new furniture/decor, insurance premiums and other incidentals that come up along the way. Start funneling your spare change and extra cash into a savings account until you’re ready to buy. Every little bit counts!

    Steer clear of big purchases.

    Though you might need a new couch or extra bed to fill out your new property, wait until after you’ve closed on the home to buy it. Making big purchases in the weeks or months before buying a home can hurt you in several ways. First, it decreases your savings and cash reserves (both of which are hugely important in the home buying process). Second, it could also hurt your credit score, particularly if you use a new card or max out another one to pay for it. Finally, making a big purchase also makes you look less financially responsible to a mortgage lender.

    If you’re considering buying a home in 2019, get in touch with Embrace Home Loans today. We’ll advise you on how to best prepare your finances for your upcoming home purchase.

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