It's a good idea to be a bit cautious when it comes to buying a house. After all, it's likely to be the biggest check you'll ever write, and you'll be paying for it for years to come. Still, for most people, homeownership is an excellent investment, and getting the right loan will ensure that you enjoy your purchase without a hassle.

Unfortunately, many people assume they can't afford or qualify for a mortgage, so they give up before they even set foot in a Sunday open house in the neighborhood of their dreams.

But you know what they say about people who assume, right?

Don't miss out on homeownership just because you've bought into some myths about mortgages. We're here to set the record straight, once and for all.

Myth #1. You Need a Stellar Credit Score to Qualify

 

If you've heard it once, you've heard it a hundred times: Having a good credit score will help you get a loan. So it stands to reason that — for the biggest loan you'll ever ask for — you need to hit the 800 mark on your FICO score right?

Wrong!

According to a report by mortgage software company Ellie Mae, just over 54 percent of mortgages were given to people with credit scores between 600 and 749. Those are pretty average marks, and they still make up the bulk of the lending market to homeowners just like you. So if you've been waiting to try to boost your credit score, maybe it's time to check in with a local lender and start house hunting instead.

Myth #2. You Need a 20 Percent Down Payment

 

A 20 percent down payment used to be the standard many years ago, and there was plenty of talk about lenders reverting to it after the housing bubble burst back in 2007 and 2008. I bet you'll be happy to know that most buyers put down far lass than a fifth of the total price to make their purchases.

In fact, that same Ellie Mae report points out that over 64 percent of young buyers — that is, millennials under the age of 35 — put less than 20 percent down. Even better, 36 percent of buyers made down payments of just 5 percent — or less.

Don't forget that an FHA loan is still a great way to get into the housing market if you don't have piles of cash lying around for that down payment. These federally subsidized loans will let you make a 3 percent down payment as long as you pay insurance on the principal as you build equity. If you're a veteran, you could even qualify for a 0 percent down payment. (Thank you for your service!)

The lesson? Shop around! There are plenty of ways to structure a mortgage that works for you, and you don't have to have a 20 percent down payment or a 780+ credit score to make it happen. Once you feel better about your mortgage outlook, you'll need a real estate agent with experience to help you find the perfect home. Give us a call when you're ready to start looking — we're always happy to help!