Ways to Improve Your FICO Score for Home Buying
Most people assume that the home buying process starts with getting pre-approved by a lender or with choosing a real estate agent. The content 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 Santa Rosa, California.
The Fair Isaac Company calculates your FICO score on the summary of your complete credit history. The score ranges from 300 to 850, with most people traditionally having a score of 650. Job loss has been common in the last few years, but FICO scores aren't necessarily adjusted "on a curve." A low score is a low score and that often means you can't get a loan. Some of the pieces in summing up your FICO score are:
- 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 — Do you have too many open accounts?
- Types of Credit — Do you have a healthy mix of loans and credit cards?
In reviewing your credit history, you'll find 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. You have a credit score with each 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 risk. Your FICO score gives lenders a view of what type of borrower you'd 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 lower, you can still qualify for a loan, but the interest accumulated in the long run could be more than double the amount of an individual having a better FICO score.
We're used to working with all levels of FICO scores. Call us at (707) 318-8829 and we can help you get on the right track to the home of your dreams.
There are plans to raise your score. Improving your FICO score takes time. It can be difficult to make a significant change in your credit score with small changes, but your score can improve in a year by monitoring 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 ways you can improve your credit score:
- Keep your cards in rotation. 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 maintain an active status. But, pay them off in one or two payments.
- Pay on time. Your FICO score plummets with each account that goes to collections. It's where people who have recently experienced job loss 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 show that you're able to make payments to a bank.
- Ensure that your credit history is correct. If you discover incorrect items on your credit report, write to 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 pay extra attention 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 your remaining cards at a zero balance. It's better to have each of your cards at a lower balance than to have all of your debt transferred to one card.
- Store cards and gas cards. For those who have no credit or low credit, department store 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 credit. You should always beware of maintaining a high balance for more than a couple of billing cycles because these types of cards usually have a steeper interest rate.
Knowing the ways you can build up 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 home, you'll want to keep your applications within a two-week window to avoid damaging your credit score. With the help of Roxanne Mercer Real Estate, the loan 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.