What are the four Rs of homeownership?

REVIEW, under which are the subcategories of credit reports and scores, assets, and budget. “There is a plethora of tools and resources out there to let you know where you stand,” Derks said. “There are people not even monitoring that, and that’s really important. And then two, there are ways to improve your credit. Now, credit scores can be elevated through demonstrations of consistent payment elsewhere, and that’s huge – especially as you think about broadening the reach of all individuals seeking to become a homeowner. Start with the foundational component of your credit score, and what you are doing to improve that and getting it to be the highest it can be.”

At the end of the day, one needn’t try to increase one’s score, but there are repercussions for not doing so: “You can still buy, you can still get a loan with a different credit level,” Derks noted. “It’s just going to be more costly and in a higher-rate environment, you should put yourself in a place to minimize your expenses and your costs.” 

REFLECT, with the subset of goals, timeline and needs, could be considered the more pensive cousin to the analytical Review. “That’s really stepping back and taking an inventory. How much money do you have? What is your income? What are your expenses? And really understanding what you have to put forth into this transaction, and not jumping to conclusions like ‘Oh well, I must not have enough so I’m not going to move forward.’

“Don’t assume that! You’re not a financial expert, and that’s not a derogatory comment. Gather the intel to understand what you have in savings, what are your expenses. Because those things come into play with down payment and closing costs.”

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