Q: My boyfriend and I are looking for a house together. I have good credit, but his credit score is bad. We are thinking about going to credit counseling before applying for a mortgage. How long do you think it will take to repair his credit? Do you think we will make the June tax credit deadline?
A: Most mortgage banks and brokers are looking for credit scores in the 600s, so how long it will take to repair your boyfriend’s credit really depends how low his credit scores are. It could take a couple months or a couple years, depending on the severity of the situation.
It’s good to go to credit counseling anyway if this is your first home, but be very careful about who you select to help you with your credit. Some of the so-called “credit repair” companies that advertise on Facebook and television can do more harm than good. Check the Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency’s Web site for a list of approved counseling agencies.
It’s really not a bad idea to go to a mortgage bank or broker and ask their advice. Many mortgage professionals will help you with your credit for free, because they want your business.
If it turns out his credit is so bad that you won’t get it straightened out before the $8,000 Homebuyer Tax Credit expires and you are anxious to receive that free money, then you may want to entertain the thought of buying the house on your own, if that’s feasible.
Stacey McCarthy is a real estate agent with the McCarthy Group of Keller Williams. Her Real NEastate column appears every Wednesday on NEastPhilly.com. See others here. Read other NEast Philly columns here.