More than half of America carries credit card debt, incurring super high interest rates on an average outstanding balance of $6,000. Meanwhile, home loan rates are at record lows.
If you’re a buyer seeking a mortgage, the credit card debt you carry is no small matter. It can hurt your credit rating and directly impacts the amount a lender will give you to buy a home.
That double whammy makes paying off your credit cards a priority before seeking preapproval for a home loan and beginning the building process.
There’s no point walking through properties until you know what you can afford – without having a good target price in mind, it’s impossible to know what you’re looking for. And in today’s market, no seller will wait for you to organize your finances while other buyers are circling.
If you’re worried about how much a lender might give you, here are some top tips on ways to shrink your credit card debt. We also recommend sitting down and talking to a lender who’ll help find the most suitable loan for your needs. Debt to income ratios are one of the first things any lender or underwriter will consider when looking at your financial viability for a loan.
Focus On One Card At A Time
To boost your credit rating, select the card you use the most. If you use more than 20% of the balance, your rating will have taken a hit. Getting this under control will be a big win.
Stop Wasting Money On Interest
Select the card with the highest interest rate if that’s your biggest problem.
Make A Phone Call
There’s no harm in asking your card issuer for a lower interest rate. Even if you get a point or two taken off, that’ll save you several hundred dollars over a year. If you’re a good customer who pays on time, they’ll want to keep your business.
Double Your Money
Credit card interest is usually calculated daily, so try to make two minimum payments a month. Your debt shrinks quickly if you do that.
Moving Debt Around
It can be tempting to find a card with a super low introductory rate and transfer all of your debt to it. But only do this if you’re prepared to blitz your debt before the low rate offer expires. Otherwise, you could find yourself with an even bigger headache.
Check Out Peer-To-Peer Lenders
Online folks such as Prosper and Lending Club will let you borrow funds at a lower interest rate so you can blitz your cards. You’ll need a job and a good credit rating to get on their radar.