Increasing Your FICO Score for Home Ownership
Choosing a lender isn't the first step in becoming a homeowner. 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 mortgage loan for which you'll qualify.
The Fair Isaac Company calculates your FICO score on the summary of your complete credit history. Most people traditionally have a score of 650, but scores are tiered 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 are:
- 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 credit cards and loans?
- Payment History — Do you pay your bills on time every month?
When you pull your credit report, 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 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 bureau.
Lenders want to make sure that giving you a loan isn't a risk for them. Your credit score gives lenders an insight into what type of borrower you'd be solely because of your credit history. You'll need a score of at least 740 to get a acceptable interest rate. If your score is lower, you can still qualify for a loan, but the interest accrued in the long run could be more than double that of an individual having a better credit score.
Staying on top of your FICO score is the first step in purchasing a home. Call us at (888) 326-3949 and we can help you get on the right track to the home of your dreams.
You want an improved score, but how do you get it? Improving your FICO score takes time. It can be rare to make a significant stride change in your number with small changes, but your score can improve in a few years 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. You'll improve your credit score by using these pointers:
- Store cards and gas cards. For those who have no credit or low 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 credit. You must always avoid maintaining a large balance for more than a couple of months because these types of cards usually have a larger interest rate.
- Keep your cards active. 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, be sure to pay them off in one or two payments.
- Keep up with payments. Delinquent payments instantly lower 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 rebuild your credit this way, but it's the most reliable way to prove 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, 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 seem like a good idea. But, you don't want to have one card that is maxed out and have the rest of your cards at a zero balance. It's better to have each of your cards at about less than 40% of their credit limit than to have all of your debt sitting on a single card.
Now that you're more informed about credit reporting, you'll be able to successfully take the first steps to homeownership, and that is improving your FICO score. Remember that when you're ready to apply for a loan to purchase a house, you'll want to keep your credit inquiries within a two-week window to avoid damaging your credit score. With the help of Morris Williams Realty, the loan process is sure to go more smoothly so you, too, can become a homeowner.
Get more information by visiting www.myFICO.com, Fair Isaac's informational site and you can review all of your credit reports for free each year at www.annualcreditreport.com. And, for a small payment, you can get your FICO score from each bureau on their websites: www.equifax.com, www.experian.com and www.transunion.com.
We work with all levels of credit history and can help you get back into home ownership with the right lender for you. E-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (888) 326-3949 for more information.