Raising Your FICO Score for Home Ownership
The road to home ownership doesn't start with getting pre-approved by a lender or with choosing a real estate agent. The content of your wallet begins the home buying process. To realize your goal of owning a home, you must consider your FICO score along with the type of loan for which you'll qualify in Santa Rosa.
A FICO score is a collection of your years of credit history based on an instrument developed by Fair Isaac and Company. The score ranges from 300 to 850, with most people normally having a score of 600. In recent years, however, some people have seen their score drop by hundreds of points after unemployment, charged off credit card accounts, or credit card accounts that were closed because they don't carry a balance. Some of the factors in summing up your FICO score are:
- Payment History — How many times do you make late payments?
- 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?
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 models 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 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 an insight into what type of borrower you are based solely on your credit history. Because of the shift in the economy, most home buyers should have scores in the range of 740 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 accumulated over the life of the loan could be more than double the amount of someone with a higher credit score.
Improving your credit is the first step in owning 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 difficult to make a significant stride 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 most important thing is to know your FICO score. Here are some ways you can improve your credit score:
- Stay on top of payments. Delinquent payments instantly lower your credit score. It's where people who have recently been unemployed see the biggest dip in their credit score. Yes, it takes longer to restore your credit with payment history, but it's the surest way to prove that you're able to make payments to a lender.
- Correct your credit report. If you find mistakes 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 give extra care 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 a lower balance than to have the most of your debt transferred to one card.
- Apply for gas cards or retail credit. For those who have non-existent credit or low credit, retail credit cards and gas credit cards are ways to begin your credit history, increase your credit limits and have a solid payment history, which will raise your FICO score. You should always beware of keeping a high balance for too long because these types of cards traditionally have a steeper interest rate.
- Don't let your cards get dusty. Whether you're just getting started with credit, or if you've got older cards, be sure to use your cards so that your accounts stay active. But, pay them off in one or two payments.
Now that you know more about credit reporting, you'll be able to successfully take the first step in owning a home, and that is improving your FICO score. Keep in mind that when you're ready to apply for a loan to purchase a home, you'll want to keep your lender applications within a two-week window to avoid a negative mark on your credit score. With the help of Roxanne Mercer Real Estate, shopping for a mortgage is sure to go more smoothly so you, too, can become a homeowner.
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.