John Connolly

I had an interesting conversation with one of our lenders recently. I try to check in with other real estate professionals routinely to see how they view the market, so I'm often chatting with appraisers, home inspectors, attorneys, and Realtors with other brokers and lenders to get their take on the what's happening.

I was talking with Julie Symes, a mortgage specialist at HSBC who we have worked with for years, about credit scores.  I asked her if people could get prequalified for a home purchase with a credit score of less than 620. "Certainly," Julie replied. "Just last week, I worked with someone who was turned down at First Priority, the lending arm of RealtyUSA, who had a 639 credit score. Apparently, First Priority has a cutoff of 640 so they were going to deny this individual since he was one point under."

Julie got the person qualified and they are on their way to purchasing a home. In addition, she said they can get people qualified with credit  scores of 580 at HSBC.

I've had other clients shop around after they purchased a home and finished their home inspection. On most contracts, the purchaser needs to apply for a mortgage within 5 days. I have always advised people to shop around. If a lender is willing to trim one-eighth of a point off your mortgage, think about the savings over 30 years.

Julie Symes can be contacted at 316-9512