How's Your FICO?
Choosing a lender isn't the first step in becoming a homeowner. In reality, the home buying process starts with your finances. To make your goal of homeownership realized, you must consider your FICO score along with the type of loan for which you'll qualify in Lomita, California.
A FICO score is a collection of your years of credit history based on a model developed by Fair Isaac and Company. Most people traditionally have a score of 600, 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 just that and 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 are:
- Credit Inquiries — How many times has your credit history been accessed by someone other than you?
- Types of Credit — Do you have a healthy mix of loans and credit cards?
- Payment History — Do you pay your bills on time every month?
- Credit to Debt Ratio — How much do you owe versus your available credit?
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 systems to calculate 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.
Lenders want to ensure that giving you a loan isn't a risk for them. Your FICO score gives lenders an insight into what type of borrower you are based solely on 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 satisfactory interest rate. If your score is lower, you can still qualify for a loan, but the interest accumulated over time could be more than double that of someone with a better credit score.
Getting your credit in order is the first step in owning a home. Call us at (310) 784-8321 and we can help you get on the right track to the home of your dreams.
You want a higher score, but how do you get it? Improving your FICO score takes time. It can be rare to make a significant change in your FICO score with quick fixes, but your score can improve in a year by keeping tabs your credit report and by using your credit wisely. The best way to do this is to know your FICO score. You'll improve your credit score by using these helpful hints:
- 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 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 all of your debt taking up the balance a single card.
- Apply for service station cards or store credit. For those who have non-existent credit or less-than-stellar credit, chain store credit cards and gas credit cards are ways to obtain credit, increase your spending limits and stay on top of your payments, which will raise your credit. You must always avoid keeping a high balance for too long because these types of cards normally have a larger interest rate.
- Don't let your cards get dusty. Whether you have older cards, or are just getting started with credit, use your cards so that your accounts stay active. But, pay them off in one or two payments.
- Pay on time. Your credit score plummets with each account that goes to collections. 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 build up your credit this way, but it's the surest way to prove that you're responsible enough to make payments to a bank.
- Ensure that your credit history is correct. If you find mistakes 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're better informed 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 house, you'll want to keep your lender applications within a two-week window to avoid a negative mark on your credit score. With the help of Kivett Realty, shopping for a mortgage can be a stress-free experience so you, too, can become a homeowner.
Get more information by visiting 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.