Improving Your FICO Score for Home Ownership
Most people assume that the home buying process starts with getting pre-approved for a loan or with choosing a real estate agent. The quality of your wallet starts the home buying process. Without an above average FICO score, buying a house is harder and, you could end up renting longer than you expected in Lomita until you raise your score.
The Fair Isaac Company bases your FICO score on the summary of your complete credit history. The score ranges from 300 to 850, with most people normally having a score of 600. Since we've experienced an economic downturn, however, some borrowers have seen their score drop dramatically because of job loss, charged off credit card accounts, or credit card accounts terminated because the card didn't carry a high balance. Some of the factors in deciding your FICO score include:
- Payment History — How often do you make late payments?
- Credit to Debt Ratio — How much do you owe versus your available credit?
- Credit Inquiries — Do you have too many open accounts?
- Types of Credit — Do you have a healthy mix of loans and credit cards?
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 a view of what type of borrower you'll be based solely on 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 decent interest rate. If your score is lower, you can still qualify for a loan, but the interest accumulated over the life of the loan could be more than double that of an individual with a higher FICO score.
We're used to working with all levels of credit scores. Contact us 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 hard to make a significant change in your FICO score with quick fixes, but your score can improve in a few years by monitoring your credit report and by wisely using credit. The best way to do this is to know your FICO score. You'll improve your credit score by using these helpful hints:
- Stay on top of payments. Delinquent payments drastically lower your credit score. It's one of the reasons people who have recently been unemployed see the biggest dip in their credit score. Yes, it takes longer to build up your credit with payment history, but it's the most reliable way to show that you're able 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.
- 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 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 the most of your debt transferred to one card.
- Retail cards and service station 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 have a solid payment history, which will raise your FICO score. You should always avoid keeping a large balance for more than a couple of months because these types of cards usually have a surprising interest rate.
- Keep your cards in rotation. Whether you're just getting started with credit, or if you've got older cards, use your cards so that your accounts stay active. But, make sure you pay them off in one or two payments.
Now that you're more 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. Keep in mind that when you're ready 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, 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 review your credit history for free 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.