We have owned a home in the past and have been leasing for 2 years in Texas. We would like to pre-qualify for mortgage loan and hopefully beat the rush before the crazy end of school summer season house selling renzy begins. My question is what do we do with our current credit card situation? We both have good credit (695-715), but want to be in the best shape possible before reaching out to a mortgage officer.
We have 4 credit cards: 2 have large balances with 0 percent interest until August 2017, the 3rd card has not been used in years, has a 7k limit and a 13.49 rate, the 4th card is a Chase Saphire with a $ 300 balance and can easily be paid off (rate is 13.49.) In addition to these cards, I also have an Amex Green card that carries a $ 20 recurring charge. The past few years, we used to use the Amex for everything because we earned points. Now, we like to use the other cards because the only negative items on my credit report are late payments to AX in May and June 2015, which I disputed last year. It was summer – we were traveling and had people in town – technically they were late. 2x I’ve been late and a card member since 1999 – so irritating!
Does it make sense to spread the larger balances to the other two cards with an APR or leave it as is and focusing on paying them down? According to Mint my current utilization is 31% in total. Do they look at each card, I assume so. What are the tricks to making our situation as positive as possible?
Also, from a mortgage/home buying perspective – is there an ideal timeframe between now and Dec 2017 to buy a house? Will rates stay low? I know it’s hard to tell with a new administration, but any info is helfpul. We don’t HAVE to buy a house now, we like the one we are in, but we’d like to start building equity again and find a place for our young family.