If credit is good, it?s a good time to buy

Motivated sellers, builders offering deep discounts and incentives, historically low mortgage rates, plenty of inventory and fierce competition for qualified borrowers?it?s actually a great time to buy a house.

If your credit score is good, you?re in an even better position to negotiate the loan on the home of your dreams this spring.

Spring has always been a popular time to buy a new home. More people put their homes on the market when the weather is warm, and a wealth of inventory is available. With winter thawing into distant memory, home shoppers are ready for a fresh start in a new house.

Buying a home in spring will help new homeowners ensure they move their families during the summer, and not at the beginning or in the middle of the school year.

With plenty of housing opportunities and low interest rates currently available, it pays to ensure you?re in a position of power when you go home shopping this spring. Here are some simple tips for ensuring you?re in the driver?s seat when buying a house:

1. Know your credit score.

You may not be able to control the economy, but your credit score is a financial reality you do have control over. The higher your score, the more likely you are to be able to negotiate lower interest rates when mortgage hunting.

Before you look at a single house, find out what your credit score is. Sites like FreeCreditReport.com give you access to your free credit report ?which will show potential lenders your payment history and help them decide if you?re a good or even great credit risk.

Through the Web site, you can also get your credit score from Experian, one of the three top credit bureaus lenders turn to when evaluating the credit-worthiness of potential borrowers.

The better your score, the better your chances of scoring a great loan, so take steps to improve your score, such as paying off credit cards quickly, paying bills on time and minimizing your use of revolving credit.

Errors can occur and if you find some on your credit report, work directly with the credit bureaus to have them corrected.

2. Know the playing field.

Once you?re confident you have a powerful credit score, research the market where you?re interested in buying. In addition to considering the qual

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