E-mail your question to "Ask George & Chuck". The answers to questions in this column do not contain legal advice. If you wish to obtain legal advice, you should consult your own attorney.
Dear George: I'm single and have worked at the same job for the past six years. I don't earn much, and my credit score is in the low 500s. What are the chance that I can get approval for a mortgage as a first-time buyer? Should I get a co-signer?
Answer: Working for the same employer for six years shows consistency, which is in your favor. However, most lenders will balk at a credit score in the low 500s. Here's a rough outline of what FICO credit scores mean to lenders:
You should enroll in a credit-repair class with an organization that belongs to the Better Business Bureau. Try this before you enlist help from the co-signer. Raise your credit score before taking on more debt.