Scoring Your Credit - How's Your Credit Score
Choosing a lender isn't the first step in becoming a homeowner. The content of your wallet begins the home buying process. Putting back your money for a down payment is great, but if you don't have a strong credit score to back it up, you could find yourself renting for another couple of years in Davidson County until your FICO score is acceptable.
A FICO score is a review 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 traditionally having a score of 600. In recent years, however, some people have seen their score lowered after job loss, delinquent 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 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 how much credit you have available?
- Credit Inquiries — Do you have too many open accounts?
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 are solely because of 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 a decent 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 the amount of someone having a superior credit score.
We're used to working with all tiers of FICO scores. Contact us
and we can help you get on the right track to the home of your dreams.
There are strategies to raise your score. Improving your FICO score takes time. It can be rare to make a significant stride change in your number with quick fixes, but your score can improve in a year by monitoring 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:
- Pay on time. Late payments hurt your FICO 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 show that you're responsible enough to make payments to a bank.
- Ensure that your credit history is correct. If you find 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 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 don't want to have one card that is at the limit and have the rest of your cards at a zero balance. It's better to have each of your cards at about 30% of their credit limit than to have the bulk of your debt transferred to one card.
- Retail cards and service station cards. For those who have non-existent credit or less-than-stellar credit, chain store credit cards and gas credit cards are ways to get credit, increase your credit limits and keep up your payments, which will raise your credit. You must always avoid carrying a large balance for more than a couple of billing cycles because these types of cards more than likely have a surprising 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 no more than two or three payments.
Knowing the methods you can use to build up your FICO score, you're one step closer to becoming a homeowner. Remember that when you're ready to apply for a loan to purchase a home, you'll want to keep your applications within a two-week window to avoid adverse effects on your credit score. With the help of Ann Black Realty, Inc., the loan process can be a stress-free experience so you, too, can achieve home ownership.
To learn more, visit www.myFICO.com, Fair Isaac's informational site and once per year, for free, you can review all three of your credit reports 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 (336) 472-1809 for more information.