Tips on Improving Your FICO Score for Home Buying
Choosing a lender isn't the first step in becoming a homeowner. In reality, the home buying process starts with your finances. Without an acceptable credit score, buying a house is more difficult and, you could end up renting longer than you expected in Troy, Vermont until your score improves.
The Fair Isaac Company calculates your FICO score on the summary of your total credit history. The score ranges from 300 to 850, with the majority of people traditionally having a score of 600. Job loss has been common in the last few years, but FICO scores aren't necessarily adjusted "on a curve." A low score is just that and often means you can't get a loan. Some of the pieces in deciding your FICO score are:
- Credit Inquiries — Do you have too many open accounts?
- Types of Credit — Do you have a healthy mix of loans and credit cards?
- Payment History — Do you pay your bills on time ?
- Credit to Debt Ratio — How much do you owe versus how much credit you have available?
In reviewing your credit history, you'll discover that you actually have three reports. Experian, Equifax and TransUnion — three of the major credit reporting agencies — use a slightly different systems to determine your credit rating. FICO is used by Experian. Equifax's model is called BEACON and TransUnion uses EMPIRICA. Because of this, you have three scores, one for each scoring model.
When you apply for a mortgage or any other loan, lenders want to make sure that extending a loan to you isn't a risk. Your FICO score gives lenders a view of what type of borrower you'd be based solely on your credit history. Because of the shift in the economy, most home buyers should have scores in the range of 700 or higher to get a satisfactory interest rate. You'll still get approved for a loan with a lower score, but the interest accumulated in the long run could be more than double that of an individual with a better FICO score.
Improving your credit score is the best way to ease into purchasing a home. Contact us and we can help you get on the right track to the home of your dreams.
How do you boost your credit score? Improving your FICO score takes time. It can be hard to make a significant stride change in your credit score with quick fixes, but your score can improve in a year or two by monitoring your credit report and by using your credit wisely. The best way to do this is to know your FICO score. Here are some ways you can improve your credit score:
- Chain store cards and service station cards. For those who have no credit or low credit, chain store credit cards and gas credit cards are ways to improve credit, increase your spending limits and have a solid payment history, which will raise your FICO score. You must always avoid keeping a large balance for more than a couple of months because these types of cards traditionally have a steeper interest rate.
- Keep your cards in rotation. Whether you have older cards, or are just getting started with credit, use your cards so that your accounts stay active. But, be sure to pay them off in no more than two or three payments.
- Pay on time. Your credit score plummets with every account that goes to collections. It's one of the reasons people who have recently been unemployed see the biggest hit in their credit score. Yes, it takes longer to restore your credit this way, but it's the most reliable way to show that you're responsible enough to make payments to a bank.
- Correct your credit report. If you find incorrect items on your credit report, contact the bureau asking that the item be removed. If you have a common name or the same name as a family member, you'll want to give extra care to make sure the activity reported is correct.
- Spread your debt around. At first, this doesn't seem like a good idea. But, you want to avoid of having one card that is holding the maximum and have the rest of your cards at a zero balance. It's better to have each of your cards at about 20% of their credit limit than to have all of your debt taking up the balance one card.
Now that you're better informed about credit reporting, you'll be able to successfully take the first steps to homeownership, and that is improving your FICO score. Keep in mind that when it's time to apply for a loan to purchase a home, you'll want to keep your lender applications within a two-week window to avoid adverse effects on your credit score. With the help of Big Bear Real Estate, the loan process can be a stress-free experience so you, too, can achieve home ownership.
Get more information by visiting myFICO.com, Fair Isaac's informational site and once per year, for free, you can review all three of your credit reports at annualcreditreport.com. And, for a small payment, you can get your FICO score from each bureau on their websites: equifax.com, experian.com and transunion.com.