The Best Credit Cards to Get After Buying a New House, According to Personal Finance Experts
Congratulations on the purchase of your home! Buying your very own place to live is a very exciting (and stressful) time. And while I wish I could tell you all of that changes the moment you sign on the dotted line, I’m sorry to say that being a new homeowner comes with its own stressors, like how exactly you’re going to afford to take care of all the items on your new home’s to-do list.
Fortunately, there are a variety of credit cards on the market that can help you tackle those expensive items without emptying your savings account. I spoke with a few pros to find out which cards you should check out, and what you need to know before you apply.
Double-check the perks.
It’s always better to earn interest than pay interest, according to Steve Sexton, financial consultant and CEO of Sexton Advisory Group. That’s why you need to be wary of credit card offers that sound too good to be true.
“Statement credit, cash back rewards, and zero-interest periods are all designed to get people to spend now and pay later,” he says. “If you do not have a plan to eliminate your debt within the interest promotional period, you will have to pay a high interest rate.”
This can make it harder to pay off your credit card debt down the line, which can affect everything from future purchases to refinancing your home.
“New homeowners need to look at that fine print,” he says. “Some credit cards will only provide cash back rewards to specific items like gas or groceries, but not home improvement items.”
If your goal is to get cash back on home improvement-related purchases, you need to double check that the card you are applying for will provide those benefits in the time frame you’ll need them. Here are a few the pros recommend:
Lowe’s Advantage Card: Sexton suggests the Lowe’s Advantage Card, which allows cardholders to receive a five percent discount on everyday purchases that will make your new place feel like home, such as paint, flooring, and tools. Just remember to double check that any rentals or contracting items are covered before using the card for those.
SoFi Credit Card: Use the cash back option on this card to help nurture healthy financial habits, such as saving, investing, and addressing debt. “The SoFi Credit Card provides up to two percent unlimited cash back and allows you to pay down debt with rewards that are earned for spending,” explains Lauren Anastasio, a certified financial planner with SoFi.
The Bank of America Customized Cash Rewards: Take advantage of three percent cash back in one of Bank of America’s six categories, which includes home improvement/furnishings. This makes it a great option for new homeowners with a lengthy to-do list. As an added benefit, you can switch your 3 percent cash back category from month to month, according to Jason Gaughan, a credit cards executive at Bank of America. So once you’re done with home improvement, you could opt to get cash back from dining or travel.
Wayfair Credit Card: Cardholders can expect to receive five percent cash back rewards, according to Sexton. Shop Wayfair for home furnishings, curtains, and small appliances, and earn rewards for every dollar you spend.
Get the most out of your benefits by having the funds set aside for a remodel or home improvement project before you get started. “I recommend using the right credit cards to get the statement credit to purchase more for free and obtain the cash back rewards,” Sexton says. “Then pay off the credit card at the end of the month or at least by the end of the zero interest period.”
This way, you won’t end up losing any of the benefits that sold you on the card (statement credits, cash back, and points) to what you’re paying each month in interest. “A statement credit or cash back rewards does you no good if you pay it back with annual fees,” Sexton says.