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Financing

5 Credit Cards for New Homeowners

As any homeowner will attest, buying a house is one of those purchases that only comes with more expenses. Maintaining a budget and shopping around for the best deals on big expenses like furniture and home repair services will help you save money as a homeowner, but taking advantage of good credit card offers can be another way to accomplish the same goal.

You may be surprised to learn about all the different credit cards out there that meet the money-saving needs of homeowners -- there are a lot of options, but you generally need a good or excellent credit score to take advantage of the offers. Before applying for any new credit, take a look at your credit scores to see if you have a good chance of qualifying for it (you can see two of your credit scores for free on Credit.com). If you're about to apply for a home loan, it's not a good time to apply for a new credit card (or any other new credit), because you want your credit to be as good as possible when shopping for home loans.

However, if you are in a position to consider opening a new credit card, there are plenty of cards with great benefits for homeowners. This isn't a definitive list or ranking of any sort, but here are some cards you may want to look into if you're a homeowner trying to cut back on expenses.

Lowe's credit card

If you have a lot of remodeling projects on your hands, you could save money on them by using a home-improvement store credit card. The Lowe's credit card allows new cardholders to opt for one of two promotional deals: You can choose to get 5% off every transaction for 18 months, or you can get 0% financing on a purchase of $299 or more for 18 months. There are some brand exclusions, and the 0% financing applies only if you pay the balance in full by the end of the 18-month period, but if you have a large household item you need to finance or a lot of repairs to make in the next year or so, the card could help you save money.

After the promotional period (or during it, if you choose the 5% off), the standard APR is 24.99%, so make sure you pay your balance in full every month to avoid the cost of high interest charges. If Lowe's isn't your go-to home improvement store, see what your local option has to offer. They may have a way for you to save money with a store-issued card, too.

Wells Fargo Home Rebate Visa card

Homeowners with a Wells Fargo mortgage can pay down their principal with rewards from this card, which gives a 5% rebate on gas, grocery, and drugstore net purchases for the first six months and 1% per $1 on everyday purchases after that. There's no annual fee, and you can have the rebate directly applied to your mortgage principal -- you can also redeem the rebate by check, for travel or for other things, if you prefer.

Target credit card

Target cardholders get 5% on any purchases made at Target with that card -- you can buy a wide variety of home goods and groceries at the store, so if it's your preferred store to visit for your home needs, you can save a lot of money over time. Additionally, you get free shipping on Target.com. As with any rewards card, you want to avoid carrying a balance so you don't end up paying more in interest than what you save.

There are plenty of other store cards that may reward you for loyalty as you stock up and decorate your living space, so shop around for what will help your budget most.

First Command Platinum

This is among the best low-interest credit cards available -- it's Credit.com's top choice for Best Low-Interest Credit Card in America -- and a low-interest card may be helpful if you have a lot of things to buy for your home right now but want to spread out the expenses. Opting for a 0% financing promotional offer would work if you can qualify for one and you know you can pay off the balance by the end of the promotional period, but opting for a card with a consistently low rate may be a better alternative, depending on your plans.

New cardholders receive a minimum credit limit of $5,000, and it comes with an array of rewards, too, which is part of why this card's low APR of 8.25% is so noteworthy.

Citi Double Cash

If you want a bit more freedom in how you find savings as a homeowner, a cash-back credit card might be your best option. The Citi Double Cash card gives you 1% cash back on all transactions at point of purchase and another 1% when you pay the bill. The best way to use a rewards card is to pay it in full each month to avoid interest charges, which would then mean you're essentially getting 2% back on all purchases, without an annual fee. It's currently listed as Credit.com's Best Cash Rewards Credit Card in America.

Keep in mind no amount of rewards can help you save money if you spend beyond your means. Debt can end up being far more expensive than any rewards you may accrue along the way.

Note: It's important to remember that interest rates, fees, and terms for credit cards, loans, and other financial products frequently change. As a result, rates, fees, and terms for credit cards, loans, and other financial products cited in these articles may have changed since the date of publication. Please be sure to verify current rates, fees, and terms with credit card issuers, banks, or other financial institutions directly.

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This article was written by Christine DiGangi and originally published on Credit.com.

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