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The Three C’s to the Home Buying Process

Becoming a homeowner is an exciting process, and experience has proved to me time and time again that the path to success almost always begins with early preparation. In most cases, that means getting organized a good three to six months before you plan to make a move. There are three big “C’s” in the home buying process — credit, capacity, and collateral — and by starting things early, you can take care of two of them to set yourself up for the big move down the road.

The letter C


First things first — a bit of housekeeping is in order. If you’re not already familiar with your credit score, now is the time to brush up. Some banks and credit card companies offer credit score updates, but the number they have may vary by a few points from the score your loan officer sees after pulling your credit report. What you see is considered an educational score, but it’s still useful as a gauge.

A lender will use what’s known as a tri-merge credit report to give you an accurate number. Your credit score serves as the most important factor in creating options for available loan products and programs. With the Cushing Team here at Guild Mortgage, we like to review your report together and plan for the final review when you start seriously shopping for that dream home. The report we pull is good for ninety days, and don’t worry — the single credit check over this timeframe won’t affect your credit score.


Loan programs are tied to your credit score, but the type of loan will increase or decrease your payments based on another factor — your capacity. This is your income and the length of current employment. Your payments depend on how much you put down upfront, and the potential need for mortgage insurance if that number is less than 20%.


While credit and capacity can be fine-tuned ahead of time, the third C of the home buying process — collateral — is the dream home itself. The type of property you want to buy, be it a condo, townhome, or single-family residence, as well as the location, will both determine the final options. There are other considerations that factor into property taxes as a monthly cost in your payments, such as HOA fees, property age, and location. These are directly tied to your capacity and can help you zero in on the home you’ll ultimately make an offer to buy.

Getting Started

There’s a process to buying a home, and an experienced guide can make all the difference. If you’re considering diving into the housing market in the next few months, get started now — submit an online application with the Cushing Team at Guild Mortgage here in Reno, and we’ll be in touch to help you with the rest. There are no drawbacks to planning ahead, and we’re here to help!

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6990 South McCarran Blvd., Suite 200 Reno, NV 89509