Charlotte NC Real Estate Blog by Tracy Honeycutt, Realtor

Top Reasons to Buy a Home vs. Rent

Paying Your Rent on Time Can Now Help You Qualify for a Mortgage 

Good News! Renters who consistently pay their landlords on time may start finding it easier to get a mortgage. Last weekend, home loan investor Fannie Mae introduced a tool that allows lenders to factor in a renter's on-time payments and use that information to help them qualify for a mortgage. This shift is designed to help more people with limited credit histories or low credit scores become homeowners sooner than later.

Here’s how it works: After applying  for a mortgage the lender runs it through Fannie Mae’s underwriting software to determine if Fannie Mae would buy the loan. If the answer is “no” based on traditional inputs like credit score, etc., renters can get another shot by submitting their bank statements for review. Fannie Mae’s automated system will then scan for a record of 12 consecutive months of on-time rental payments. This system can identify check or electronic rent payments regardless of how it is made (ie. landlord’s payment portal, digital payment platform such as Venmo, Paypal, etc.). 

Fannie Mae estimates that 17% of recent applicants who weren’t recommended for a mortgage under traditional inputs would qualify if rental payments had been taken into consideration.

Another Change in Mortgage Qualifying

Up until now, lenders evaluating a loan application from co-borrowers have only considered the lowest credit score to determine creditworthiness, which means if one of the co-borrowers has a score below 620, the pair wouldn’t qualify for a mortgage.

Now, lenders...

Tips to Save Energy and Add Value

When it comes to energy efficiency, look for smart features and expertise to help you save energy and money and add value to your home.

1. Begin with a Right-Sized Home.

If the home you buy is simply too large for you or your family’s needs or plans, you stand a good chance of wasting energy through excessive heating and cooling costs. If it’s too small, you’ll feel cramped and uncomfortable. It’s a big investment, so seek balance and buy it “right” from the outset. 

2. Purchase Energy Star Appliances Such as Your TV, Dishwasher, Washer and Dryer, and Microwave.

And especially the refrigerator, as it alone contributes about 10 percent of the energy use in a home. Also, unplug electronics not in use or turn off power strips to avoid phantom charges. 

3. Install Efficient Lighting Such as Compact Fluorescent (CLF) or LED Bulbs in Every Fixture.

Lighting accounts for about 6 percent of an energy bill each year.

4. Get an Energy Audit and Have Tests Performed to Identify Ways of Improving Your Efficiency.

You can always upgrade your heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) system as well as your thermal envelope, which includes insulation, windows, and doors  and the seals or weather stripping around them. Visit for more tips.