Build Credit for Home Buying in Texas

How to Build your Credit When Home Buying in Texas

Good Credit is Important for Your Texas Home Loan

Maintaining a good credit score might appear difficult at first and you might wonder why it is so important. Having a good credit score is a way to tell people (primarily loan officers, banks, and even employers) that you are dependable and can be consistent in payments (or as an employee) over the long-term. Lenders want to see that the person they are lending money to will be responsible and trustworthy when paying back their loan. This is especially important when you are planning to purchase a home in Texas. So, we sat down with Alisa from Fairway Mortgage in Killeen, TX to learn more about what mortgage loan officers are looking for when they approve a home loan. This is especially important for first time home buyers in Texas.

 What Mortgage Loan Officers Look For in Texas Home Buyers

Mortgage loan officers consider 3 main categories when evaluating home buyers for a home loan. Each of these categories contribute to whether you are approved for a home loan, and also the interest rate of your home loan.

1. Credit Score

According to Alisa, mortgage loan officers like to see a score of 620 or higher for most Texas home buyers. This number will vary for different mortgage companies but is a good starting point for most people. Some companies will make exceptions for credit scores as low as 580.

2. Debt-to-Income Ratio

Debt-to-Income Ratio can be a pretty straightforward concept. It is the amount of debt that you pay every month and compare it to the amount of income that you make every month. For example, if you pay $300 per month towards a car payment and $300 per month to a credit card, your debt payments per month will total $600. Then you divide that $600 by your monthly pre-tax income.

For this example, we’ll estimate your pre-tax income is $3,000 per month. Here is what the math looks like: $600 / $3,000 = 0.2 or 20%. That means that 20% of your monthly income is going towards debt repayment. Many mortgage lenders say that a good debt-to-income ratio is ideally below 45% but could be higher based on specific programs.

3. Credit History

Credit history refers to the long-term record of your debts and repayments. Your credit history is how your credit score is determined. This includes everything related to your credit including: how many accounts you have open and how long they have been open, the amount owed on each account, whether your bills have been paid on time, the number of recent credit inquiries, and more. All of these aspects of your credit will give your loan officer an idea of whether you are good at handling borrowed money.

 Tips for First Time Home Buyers in Texas

 There are many ways to improve your credit. The odds that you will be approved for a home loan with a good interest rate will increase as you improve your credit. Alisa has some great tips on what she suggests for home buyers in Texas.

  • If you have current credit cards but your credit score is low, pay down your credit cards to 15% of their limit and keep it below 15%. That means your credit card with a limit of $1,000 should keep the balance below $150. Ideally, you will not owe anything on your credit cards, but keeping it below 15% of the limit will greatly improve your credit score and chances of being approved for a Texas home loan.
  • If you have never had a credit card, consider opening a secured credit card. Secured credit cards require a refundable deposit paid upfront as collateral. The amount of the deposit is often the same as the credit limit. This ensures that you are not spending more than what you can repay and allows you to practice building credit without the risk of going into debt. Any payments that you are unable to make are covered by your deposit.
  • Another way to establish credit history, at least with Fairway Mortgage, is by proving you have at least 3 non-traditional accounts that you have been paying on-time for at least 12 months or longer. Non-traditional credit accounts might include rental payments, utility payments, school tuition, renter’s or auto insurance, and many more.

You CAN become a homeowner. It is not just a pipe dream. NextHome Tropicana is here to help you find your new home and work with you to prepare for the process. Maintaining a good credit score is essential to getting approved for a home loan and getting the best possible rate. If you have any questions or want to start the conversation about your future home sweet home, please call us at (254) 535-0277.

DR Horton Home Creekside Hills

New Construction in Copperas Cove: Creekside Hills Community

Creekside Hills is a new community in Copperas Cove from DR Horton. Pick from ten floor plans ranging from 1,508 to 3150 square feet. These single story and two-story homes were thoughtfully designed with 3, 4, and bedroom options and a variety of open concept layouts.

Creekside Hills is located in Copperas Cove, referred to as the “City Built for Family Living.” This neighborhood is just minutes away from Highway 9, allowing you quick access to Fort Hood, Killeen, and Harker Heights. Take a fun weekend trip down to Austin for the big festivals and events in an hour or less.

These homes are new construction, so you can be the first one to choose everything. Choose your lot, design your house to your preferences, and it will truly feel like home sweet home.

A Look Inside…

Step into this fantastic kitchen featuring stainless steel appliances, an island, granite counter tops, and a large pantry.

Beautiful Warm Kitchen Creekside Hills

 When you’re ready to host friends for a party or dinner, they will be impressed by your warm dining room that pours into the living room in your open layout home.

Entertainment Friendly Dining Room Creekside Hills

In your master bedroom, you can stretch out in your enormous walk-in closet. There is plenty of room for everything you may have previously put into storage and more.

Huge Walk-In Closet Creekside Hills

Want to see more previews of these homes? Visit the community. Want to see it in person? Give us a call and we’ll show you around: 254.535.0277

Buying a DR Horton Home in Copperas Cove

Here are a few ways to save money if you want to get into this beautiful community.

  1. When you choose to work with the DHI Mortgage company to purchase a DR Horton home, all of your closing costs will be covered. That certainly makes it more affordable, right?
  2. You can potentially get $50 earnest money on VA Loans (fully refundable upon closing).
  3. Texas Veteran Loans and down payment assistance is also available for qualified applicants.



Buying or Selling a Home around Killeen, TX?

Spring is here and many of us are “spring cleaning”! However, some people are spring cleaning and preparing to purchase or sell a home in Killeen, TX. Here at NextHome Tropicana Realty, we pride ourselves on keeping the community informed. We have a few tips to offer you.

*Advice for Home Buyers*

  • Know what you need versus what you want
  • Know your budget
  • Find an agent that you trust

*Advice for Home Sellers*

  • List your property now versus later
  • Be sure to know the market price for your property
  • Ensure that your property has eye-catching appeal ( free of clutter, nice landscaping and etc.)


One last thing, if you are looking to buy be sure to “LOOK FOR LUKE” …

If you see him, take a picture, and post it to our Facebook or Instagram page. You will then be entered into a raffle to win a $50 gift card for Texas Roadhouse!

Check out the Latest Single-Family Homes near Killeen, Texas

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A Contemporary Home: The Oxford Floor Plan at Lakeview in Killeen


Contemporary home plans offer clean lines, simple proportions, open layouts, and abundant natural light. Most contemporary homes have large expanses of glass, a strong connection to the outdoor space, and plenty of wall space. The Oxford floor plan in Lakeview is no different.


This popular contemporary floor plan features an open layout with tons of windows inviting natural light into the living room and dining room areas. All of the windows feature 2-inch faux wood blinds for blocking that sunlight when you don’t want it.


About the Oxford Floor Plan:

  • 1 Story single-family home
  • 1,853 square feet
  • 4 bedrooms
  • 2 baths
  • 2 car garage
  • Covered Patio
  • Utility Room

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Cooking & Eating in Your Contemporary Home

The first night in a new home often centers around unpacking, relaxing, and then eating. In this beautiful contemporary home you won’t want to order in. The kitchen features stylish granite counter-tops and espresso stained cabinets. You get to enjoy the upgraded stainless steel appliances including flat top stove, built-in microwave, and a dishwasher.


Enjoy your meal in the dining room or living room. There’s plenty of space for the whole family! Or take your meal outside to the patio. The fall is a beautiful time of year in Texas, and it’s ideal for having family dinner outside.


Relax and Unwind

The master bedroom is located in the exterior of this floor plan – opposite of the the other three bedrooms – so there is plenty of privacy from the kids or other family members. The master bedroom includes a large walk-in closet. Complementing that closet is the spacious master bathroom complete with dual vanities and an upgraded tub with shower.


The three guest bedrooms are well sized. Each one has a closet, plus a linen closet and full bath separates the rooms.




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Additional Home Features

This floor plan includes a separate utility room with washer and dryer connections. Connecting the garage and utility room is a mud room – perfect for leaving shoes and hanging up coats. The garage comes finished with an automatic garage door opener and two remotes.


Exterior home features include a professional landscaping package and full privacy fenced-in backyard. The entire lot has St. Augustine sod, which is known for being a strong and drought tolerant grass.


  • Digital thermometer for easy temperature control – Central Air, Central Cooling
  • Electric, Furnace Heat, Hot Water/Steam
  • Ceiling Fans in bedrooms
  • New Construction
  • Brick Exterior
  • Floors include Carpet, Ceramic, and Vinyl


Want to take a 3D Virtual Tour of this home?


Finding a New Home in Killeen

The Fort Hood area is a very affordable area to live. The median home price is between $120,000 and $150,000. Express Homes by D.R. Horton has been developing some of the newer neighborhoods featuring affordable new constructed homes. Between the price and location, it’s hard to beat this offer in Lakeview.


Killeen is a very family-centric town with nearly 40% of the households being married families with children. If you have a family or are planning a family, Killeen is a welcome place to settle in.  The average age in this neighborhood is 27 years old. Read More About the Neighborhood.


Home Cost and Details

Priced at about $155,000, the monthly payments on this home are very affordable for a first time VA buyer. Those payments are approximately $1,050 including real estate taxes and insurance.


What would it take a qualified veteran to get this house? $50 Earnest money refunded to buyer at closing!*
No VA loan? No problem! 100% financing available for non military members.*
Contact Eleonora for details today. *Certain conditions apply.



  • $155,000
  • Monthly Payments on a first time VA loan of around $1,050
  • Zero Move-In Cost on VA loan, $50 earnest money (refunded at closing)
  • All closing costs paid by BUILDER using DHI Mortgage
  • Up to 2 month no mortgage payment
  • Less than perfect credit ok, credit counseling available
  • Homebuilder One Year Warranty Program
  • Personalized New Homeowner orientation
  • 10 Years Limited RWC Warranty Program
  • 24 hour Emergency Contact Number

For more information about these homes and requesting a tour, please contact us at 254-535-0277 or fill out a request form here

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What’s Around the Neighborhood: Lakeview in Killeen

When I first visited the Lakeview community in Killeen, one of the first things I did was drive around the neighborhood. I took a close look around at all the amenities, community spaces, parks, etc. to feel secure in saying this is going to be a great place to live – especially for folks based at Fort Hood who have families. Consider driving through the neighborhood yourself on the weekend or during the evening to see the casual crowds and activities going on.


Neighborhood Schools

While you’re at work, you may be thinking about where your kids will be spending their days and who they will be with. Some of the local schools and child care centers in this neighborhood of Killeen include:


  • Hay Branch Elementary: Students at this school are making far more academic progress (
  • St. Joseph Catholic School: Parents say, “The teachers & staff in general go above and beyond to ensure all students & their families feel at home.” (
  • Rancier Middle School
  • Killeen High School
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Photo Courtesy of Killeen Daily Herald

Community Activities

The weekends often present you with time to enjoy outdoor activities and some family fun. Or you may prefer to take your leisure time indoors, expand your knowledge, take in cultural events, or enjoy some shopping. However you like it, there are several places to spend your down time.


  • Long Branch Park: This is a great spot in the all seasons, but especially in the summer when the kids can enjoy the pool and splash pad area.
  • Summit Soccer Complex: If your kids play soccer, this may be the main location for practice and games.
  • Carl Levin Park in Harker Heights offers 35 acres of space with picnic tables, grills, lighted jogging trail, and playground. Plus there’s a basketball court, outdoor swimming pool, exercise stations, fishing pond, pavilion, gazebo, and amphitheater.
  • Bell County Museum is a surprisingly large museum that collects, interprets and preserves the historical heritage of the Bell County area.
  • Vive Les Arts Theater is a wonderful local theater offering a variety of plays, musicals and other events during the year.


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Where to Eat in the Neighborhood

If you’re hungry for something that will satisfy you, there are plenty of choices. Whether you’re into southern cooking, barbeque, burgers or even something healthier, we’ve got it covered.  


  • Bobby B’s Soul Food Kitchen & More offers classic southern cooking and soul food such as pork chops, fried ribs, catfish, and more. Check it out.
  • Butler’s BBQ is a favorite local barbecue spot for brisket, pulled pork, and other BBQ fixin’s. See More.
  • Galaxy Burgers & Breakfast holds a special place in every Star Wars fan’s heart. They claim to have the “best food in the galaxy.” Visit Them. 
  • Rudy’s Country Store & Bar-B-Q is a Texas-centric low-key delicious place to bring the whole family. There are locations all over the state. Check Them Out. 
  • So Natural Organic Restaurant & Market, as seen on The Food Network, supports local gardeners, farmers and ranchers and brings it to your table. Read More About Them.
  • Pfeifer’s German Bakery will surely please your sweet tooth with one of their amazing cakes, sweets, pastries, or cookies. Grab a Bite.

Day Trips

Take a day trip when the weather is good. It’s about 40 minutes or less to drive down to Austin for some live music, traveling shows, great restaurants, and fun outdoor activities. Or go even further south for about 2.5 hours down to San Antonio. Check out the Alamo and the Riverwalk.  Both cities have plenty of fun activities for you or your family.


Have any other suggestions for neighborhood highlights? Please share them!