The down-payment-assistance pickle

REThink Real Estate

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Q: I was recently told I don't have enough "open lines of credit" to qualify for my town's down-payment-assistance program for first-time homebuyers. But I have three credit cards -- one with a balance -- and a school loan, which I pay on time. Isn't that enough? A: As a young child, my Dad taught me that she who has the money makes the rules. Whether that was an appropriate lesson for a young child notwithstanding, it certainly was an accurate one! Mindset Management As you've discovered, when you're applying for any sort of home financing, you have to shift into the mindset reflected in the financing program's guidelines. In the real world, most people would think that your credit lines -- or trade lines, as they're called in the mortgage industry -- reflect a very responsible credit profile. Not too much debt, not overextended, two cards that are paid off and everything paid on time? Sounds fabulous, right? Maybe not -- in the mortgage universe. In home finance...