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This page is part of Owning a Home, the CFPB’s set of tools and resources for homebuyers.
We are the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), a U.S. government agency that makes sure banks, lenders, and other financial companies treat you fairly. Learn how the CFPB can help you.

Know the process

This page contains citations and sources for key facts and figures mentioned in the Know the Process action steps and resources.

Prepare to shop

Check your credit

“As of March 2015, the median FICO score nationwide was 721 – half of consumers with a FICO score had scores above 721, and half had scores below 721.”

The CFPB conducted an analysis using the CFPB’s Consumer Credit Panel (CCP) dataset. The CCP is a 1-in-48 longitudinal sample of de-identified credit records purchased from one of the national credit reporting agencies. The sample is statistically representative of the population of consumers with credit records.

Assess your spending

“About half of Americans don’t have a budget.”

Center for Financial Services Innovation. (March 2015). Understanding and Improving Consumer Financial Health in America, p. 9. Available at: http://www.cfsinnovation.com/Document-Library/Understanding-Consumer-Financial-Health .

“Research shows that people who plan carefully for big purchases like a home are much less likely to have financial trouble later.”

Center for Financial Services Innovation. (March 2015). Understanding and Improving Consumer Financial Health in America, pp.18-22. Available at: http://www.cfsinnovation.com/Document-Library/Understanding-Consumer-Financial-Health .

Compare loan offers

Review your Loan Estimates

“One reason closings may get delayed is because of minor typographical errors that were never fixed.”

Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. (April 2014). Mortgage closings today: A preliminary look at the role of technology in improving the closing process for consumers, p. 21. Available at: http://files.consumerfinance.gov/f/201404_cfpb_report_mortgage-closings-today.pdf.

Compare your Loan Estimates

“Most borrowers keep a mortgage for about five years before moving or refinancing.”

The CFPB conducted an analysis using Equifax data provided by www.CreditForecast.com . The analysis looked at mortgages taken out in 2006-2009. More than half of the loans were closed within 5 years.

Get ready to close

Shop for title and other closing services

“Research suggests that borrowers who shop around for closing services could save as much as $500 on title services alone.”

Feinberg, Robert, et al. (June 2012). What explains variation in Title Charges: A study of five large markets. Prepared for the Department of Housing and Urban Development by The Urban Institute. Available at: http://www.huduser.org/portal/publications/hsgfin/title_charges_2012.html

Monthly payment worksheet

Home maintenance

“A common rule of thumb is 1% of your target home price (divide by 12 to get a monthly amount).”

Good data on home maintenance costs is hard to find. What few data sources exist tend to lump together major maintenance projects, such as a new roof or furnace, with discretionary improvements such as a new kitchen. However, 1% of the home price per year is a common rule of thumb used in many homebuyer educational materials, including the Home Buying Kit for Dummies by Eric Tyson and Ray Brown (2012, 5th edition, page 51).

Property tax rate (annual)

“The national median is 1.1% of home value.”

American Housing Survey, 2013. Table C-10-OO. Available at: www.factfinder.census.gov

Property tax rate (annual)

“The national median is $750.”

American Housing Survey, 2013. Table C-10-OO. Available at: www.factfinder.census.gov

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