Home buyer's Guide to Better Credit
The road to home ownership doesn't start with getting pre-approved for a loan or with choosing a real estate agent. The quality of your wallet begins the home buying process. To realize your goal of owning a home, considering your credit score is a must along with the type of mortgage loan for which you'll qualify in Lomita, California.
A FICO score is a review 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 are tiered from 300 to 850. With the change in the economy, however, some people have seen their score drop dramatically 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 determining your FICO score include:
- Credit Inquiries — Do you have too many open accounts?
- Types of Credit — Do you have a healthy mix of loans and credit cards?
- Payment History — Do you pay your bills on time each month?
- Credit to Debt Ratio — How much do you owe versus your available credit?
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 models to determine your credit rating. FICO is used by Experian. Equifax's model is called BEACON and TransUnion uses EMPIRICA. This means you have three scores, one for each bureau.
When you apply for a mortgage or any other loan, lenders want to make sure that extending a loan to you isn't a problem. 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 740 or higher to get a decent interest rate. You'll still get approved for a mortgage with a lower score, but the interest paid in the long run could be more than double that of an individual having a higher FICO score.
We're used to working with all levels of credit scores. Call us at (310) 784-8321 and we can help you get on the right track to the home of your dreams.
There are ways to increase your score. Improving your FICO score takes time. It can be difficult to make a significant stride change in your number with small changes, but your score can improve in a few years 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:
- 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 holding the maximum and have your remaining 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 the majority of your debt transferred to one card.
- Apply for gas station cards or retail credit. For those who have non-existent credit or less-than-stellar credit, store credit cards and gas credit cards are ways to get credit, increase your spending limits and have a solid payment history, which will raise your FICO score. You must always avoid maintaining a high balance for too long because these types of cards more than likely have a higher interest rate.
- Keep your cards active. Whether you're just getting started with credit, or if you've got older cards, use your cards to make sure your accounts maintain an active status. But, pay them off in no more than two or three payments.
- Keep up with payments. Payment history is a big factor in 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 restore your credit with payment history, 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 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.
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 it's time to apply for a loan to purchase a home, you'll want to keep your credit inquiries within a two-week window to avoid adverse effects on your credit score. With the help of Kivett Realty, the loan process can be a stress-free experience so you, too, can achieve home ownership.
Get more information by visiting 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.