Tips on Increasing Your FICO Score for Home Buying
Choosing a lender isn't the first step in becoming a homeowner. In reality, the home buying process begins with your finances. To become a homeowner, you must consider your FICO score along with the type of lender for which you'll qualify in Santa Rosa.
A FICO score is a collection of your years of credit history based on a model developed by Fair Isaac and Company. Most people usually have a score of 650, 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 a low score and that often means you can't get credit extended to you in the form of a mortgage loan. Some of the factors in summing up your FICO score include:
- Types of Credit — Do you have a healthy mix of credit cards and loans?
- Payment History — Do you pay your bills on time every month?
- Credit to Debt Ratio — How much do you owe versus your available credit?
- Credit Inquiries — Do you have too many open accounts?
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 systems to calculate 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.
Lenders want to be positive that allowing you a loan is a safe move. Your FICO score gives lenders an insight into what type of borrower you'll be solely because of 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. If your score is less than that, you can still qualify for a loan, but the interest accumulated in the long run could be more than double that of someone with a higher FICO score.
We're used to working with all tiers of credit history. Call us at (707) 318-8829 and we can help you get on the right track to the home of your dreams.
How do you boost your credit score? Building your FICO score takes time. It can be hard to make a large-scale change in your number with quick fixes, but your score can improve in a year or two by keeping tabs your credit report and by using credit extended to you to raise your score, instead of ruin it. The most important thing is to know your FICO score. Here are some methods to improve your credit score:
- Spread your debt around. 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 an even balance than to have all of your debt transferred to a single card.
- Apply for service station cards or store credit. For those who have no credit or below average credit, retail credit cards and gas credit cards are ways to establish your credit history, increase your spending limits and stay on top of your payments, which will raise your FICO score. You must always beware of charging a large balance for too long because these types of cards normally have a surprising interest rate.
- Keep your cards in rotation. Whether you have older cards, or are just getting started with credit, use your cards to make sure your accounts maintain an active status. But, make sure you pay them off in one or two payments.
- Pay on time. Your credit score plummets with each account that goes to collections. It's where people who have recently been unemployed see the biggest hit in their credit score. Yes, it takes longer to rebuild your credit this way, but it's the surest way to show that you're able to make payments to a lender.
- Correct your credit report. If you discover 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 give extra care to make sure the activity reported is correct.
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. Know 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 damaging your credit score. With the help of Roxanne Mercer Real Estate, shopping for a mortgage can be a stress-free experience so you, too, can achieve home ownership.
To learn more, visit 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.