Bank presents home-buying workshop

The First Commerce Credit Union held a free home-buying workshop over the weekend to help prepare first-time buyers with the buying process.

Starting at 8:30 a.m. Saturday morning, Tallahassee residents received a breakdown of what to do when buying a home. All chairs were filled, and doughnuts, coffee and other refreshments were served.

Mark Pease, a mortgage manager for First Commerce Credit Union, hosted the workshop. The first thing Pease discussed was whether or not a person can afford to buy a home.

“Not everyone can afford to buy a home,” Pease said. “But that’s why I’m here. I work for you. And if you want to buy a home, I’ll work with you to make that happen.”

One of the hot topics discussed in the workshop dealt with having an appealing credit score.

When it comes to obtaining a good credit score, Pease said have the credit cards, but don’t max them out, or spend more than half the limit. Meaning, that if you have a credit card with a limit of $500, your balance should never be more than $250.

LaKacea Smith, an entrepreneur from Crawfordville, Fla., was shocked to learn that you didn’t have to max out credit cards to have good credit.

“A friend told me that it was best to reach your limit and pay it off at the end of the month,” Smith said. “So this whole time, I’ve been hurting my score-not helping it.”

As of October 2012, the average FICO score in the U.S. is 689, according to MyFICO.

The average Experian credit score in Florida is 678, according to Governing Data.

“A credit score of 660 or greater gets you a loan,” Pease said. “The ideal credit score to have is 740 or greater.”

An important thing to remember about credit: one doesn’t have to use credit to have it, according to Pease.  

Danielle Pigott, a project manager at AHCA from Wakulla County, found the workshop to be of great benefit.

“I’m glad I came,” Pigott said. “Mark was able answer all of my questions and he taught me a lot.”

The most important thing potential homebuyers need to do, according to Pease, is to stop splurging and save.

“You don’t want to do anything but save money and pay your bills” Pease said.