Raising Your FICO Score for Home Ownership
The road to home ownership doesn't start with getting pre-approved for a loan or with choosing a real estate agent. The quality of your wallet starts the home buying process. To make your goal of homeownership realized, considering your credit score is a must along with the type of loan for which you'll qualify in Healdsburg, California.
A FICO score is a review of your years of credit history based on an instrument developed by Fair Isaac and Company. Most people usually have a score of 600, but scores range from 300 to 850. Even though more people these days are experiencing job loss and delinquent credit cards, 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 determining your FICO score include:
- Payment History — How many late payments have you made?
- Credit to Debt Ratio — How much do you owe versus how much credit you have available?
- Credit Inquiries — How many times has your credit history been accessed by someone other than you?
- Types of Credit — Do you have a healthy mix of loans and credit cards?
When you pull your credit report, you'll see that you actually have three reports. Experian, Equifax and TransUnion — three of the major credit reporting agencies — use a slightly different models to calculate your credit rating. FICO is used by Experian. Equifax's model is called BEACON and TransUnion uses EMPIRICA. You have a credit score with all three of the bureaus.
When you apply for a mortgage or any other loan, lenders want to make sure that extending a loan to you isn't a problem. Your FICO score gives lenders an insight into what type of borrower you'll 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 an acceptable interest rate. If your score is less than that, you can still qualify for a loan, but the interest accrued in the long run could be more than double that of an individual with a near perfect FICO score.
Getting your credit in order is the first step in purchasing a home. Call us at (707) 869-9067 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 there? Improving your FICO score takes time. It can be rare to make a large-scale change in your FICO score with quick fixes, but your score can improve in a few years by keeping tabs your credit report and by wisely using credit. The best way to do this is to know your FICO score. Here are some methods to improve your credit score:
- Store cards and service station cards. For those who have non-existent credit or below average credit, department store credit cards and gas credit cards are ways to improve credit, increase your spending limits and keep up your payments, which will raise your FICO score. You should always avoid maintaining a high balance for too long because these types of cards traditionally have a surprising interest rate.
- Don't let your cards get dusty. 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, be sure to pay them off in one or two payments.
- Stay on top of payments. How often you're late with payments greatly affects your credit score. It's one of the reasons people who have recently been unemployed see the biggest dip in their credit score. Yes, it takes longer to rebuild your credit with payment history, but it's the surest way to prove 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, contact 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 sound like a good idea. But, you want to avoid of having one card that is maxed out and have your remaining cards at a zero balance. It's better to have each of your cards at about 20% of their credit limit than to have the bulk of your debt taking up the balance one card.
Knowing the ways you can improve your FICO score, you're one step closer to becoming a homeowner. Remember that when it's time to apply for a loan to purchase a house, you'll want to keep your applications within a two-week window to avoid damaging your credit score. With the help of RE/MAX Full Spectrum - Roxanne Mercer, the loan application process is sure to go more smoothly so you, too, can become a homeowner.
To learn more, visit 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.