Preparing to Buy a Home – My Millennial Son’s Journey by Jill Richardson

I am an official brand ambassador for FICO. While I receive compensation for my participation as a brand ambassador, opinions are mine.

Personal finance is very “personal.” It’s always a breath of fresh air when we receive a nod that we’re on the right path when others are transparent in sharing their financial journeys. We’re excited to introduce you to this three-part series in collaboration with FICO. You’ll hear stories from FICO Score Open Access Team Members on how taking control of their financial health was not only beneficial to them personally but also for their family members.

My husband and I recently sat down with our 28-year old son to discuss purchasing his first home. His millennial friends have been wanting to do more “adulting” – move into something they can call their own and be out of a small apartment or even their parents’ basement. My son has a master’s degree and a good job at a large retail bank, but he bounced around at his first few jobs, so he hasn’t been with his current employer that long. Even though he’s free from student debt, unlike many of his peers and friends, he’s still facing a few hurdles as he recently learned from the mortgage expert at his bank.

Housing prices in Northern California are notoriously high, and breaking into the market is particularly challenging. It’s simply not affordable for most young people. This is his challenge as well, since his debt to income ratio makes it difficult to qualify, so he’ll need to save to make a substantial down payment. The time it will take to build savings may also work in his favor with a longer job stability on the application.

Being realistic and considering a fixer-upper is also important. Another critical piece of the puzzle is making sure he can qualify for the best possible rates when he is ready to take out a mortgage. Having the highest possible FICO® Score may help him get a lower interest rate. The score doesn’t consider income in its calculation, but it does include information about any missed payments, amount of debt outstanding and other things about his credit history.

Since FICO® Scores are an important piece of information used by mortgage lenders, he knows it is very important to have a good track record on paying existing debts, keeping his credit card balances low, and not applying for any new credit unless he really needs it. He also knows that keeping on top of his FICO® Score is key to taking control of his financial health, and fortunately, a couple of his creditors use FICO® Score Open Access, so he has been able to keep an eye on his FICO® Score.

The FICO Score Open Access is a program that helps educate consumers on FICO Scores and increases consumer access to FICO Score.

To learn more about FICO Open Score Access visit:

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The Finance Bar is a personal finance suite helping women and couples achieve financial wellness through coaching, education, and an innovative learning hub on wheels. Creator Marsha Barnes is a Certified Financial Social Worker, Official FICO Brand Ambassador, and was named the 2018 Best Money Expert in the Net-Worth Category.

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