Tips on Increasing Your FICO Score for Home Buying
The road to home ownership doesn't start with getting pre-approved by a lender or with choosing a real estate agent. The quality of your wallet starts the home buying process. To realize your goal of owning a home, considering your credit score is a must along with the type of lender for which you'll qualify in Troy.
The Fair Isaac Company calculates your FICO score on the summary of your total credit history. Most people usually have a score of 600, but scores range from 300 to 850. 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 decent interest rate. Some of the pieces in summing up your FICO score include:
- Credit to Debt Ratio — How much do you owe versus your available credit?
- 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 — How many late payments have you made?
When you pull your credit report, 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. As a result, you have three scores, one for each bureau.
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 an insight into what type of borrower you'll be solely because of your credit history. You'll need a score of at least 740 to get a acceptable interest rate. You'll still qualify for a mortgage loan with a lower score, but the interest accumulated over the life of the loan could be more than double the amount of an individual having a superior credit score.
We're used to working with all levels of credit history. Contact us and we can help you get on the right track to the home of your dreams.
You want a stronger score, but how do you get it? Improving your FICO score takes time. It can be difficult to make a significant change in your FICO score with small changes, but your score can improve in a year or two by keeping tabs your credit report and by using your credit wisely. The most important thing is to know your FICO score. You'll improve your credit score by using these tips:
- Use your credit. Whether you have older cards, or are just getting started with credit, be sure to use your cards so that your accounts stay active. But, pay them off in no more than two or three payments.
- Pay on time. Delinquent payments instantly drop your credit score. 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 build up your credit this way, but it's the most reliable way to show that you're responsible enough to make payments to a lender.
- Ensure that your credit history is correct. If you find incorrect items on your credit report, write to the bureau requesting that the item be removed. If you have a common name or the same name as a family member, you'll want to pay extra attention to make sure the activity reported is correct.
- Even out your debt. At first, this doesn't seem like a good idea. But, you want to avoid of having one card that is at the maximum and have your remaining cards at a zero balance. It's better to have each of your cards at an even balance than to have the bulk of your debt taking up the balance one card.
- Apply for gas station cards or department store credit. For those who have non-existent credit or less-than-stellar credit, department store credit cards and gas credit cards are ways to obtain credit, increase your credit limits and keep up your payments, which will raise your credit. You should always avoid holding a large balance for too long because these types of cards normally have a steeper interest rate.
Now that you're better informed about credit reporting, you'll be able to successfully take the first step in owning a home, and that is improving your FICO score. Know that when you're ready to apply for a loan to purchase a house, you'll want to keep your lender applications within a two-week window to avoid damaging your credit score. With the help of Big Bear Real Estate, shopping for a mortgage is sure to go more smoothly so you, too, can achieve home ownership.
Get more information by visiting myFICO.com, Fair Isaac's informational site and you can review all of your credit reports for free each year 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.