A recent study found that a majority of young people — 61 percent — don’t own a home. The number one obstacle cited? Student loan debt. That’s not surprising, as 43 percent of all college grads are in the red because of higher education. The average person with student debt now owes between $20,000 and $25,000. Thankfully, there are ways to navigate the student loan speed bump and safely arrive at the purchase of your first home. Below are some ways to purchase a home even with some education-related debt.
Lower Your DTI
One way to make buying a home easier is to lower your debt-to-income ratio (DTI). Your DTI is a big factor when lenders are considering your mortgage application. If the number is too high — you generally want a DTI lower than 28 percent before applying for a mortgage — you likely won’t get approved. So how do you lower your DTI while dealing with student debt? Try refinancing or consolidating. Doing so will reduce your monthly bill and improve your DTI.
Raise Your Credit Score
When looking to buy a house even with student loan debt, you’ll want to decrease your DTI, but increase your credit score. The better your credit, the better mortgage rate you’ll be offered. Raise your credit score by paying bills on time, keeping long-standing accounts open and using as little credit as possible (particularly on your credit cards) so your credit utilization rate stays low.
As Money notes, getting pre-approved for a mortgage will help guide your housing search and shows buyers you’re serious. When you get pre-approved, you know about how much house you can afford. Remember to shop around for a mortgage so you get the best rate possible.