FICO - The First Step to Home Buying
Choosing a lender isn't the first step in becoming a homeowner. The quality of your wallet starts the home buying process. Without an acceptable FICO score, buying a house is harder and, you could end up renting for another couple of years in Lomita, California until your FICO score is acceptable.
The Fair Isaac Company calculates your FICO score on the summary of your complete credit history. The score ranges from 300 to 850, with the majority of people normally having a score of 600. With the change in the economy, however, some borrowers have seen their score lowered as a result of unemployment, closed credit card accounts, or credit card accounts that were closed because they don't carry a balance. Some of the pieces in reviewing 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 credit cards and loans?
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 determine your credit rating. FICO is used by Experian. Equifax's model is called BEACON and TransUnion uses EMPIRICA. You have a credit score with each of the bureaus.
Lenders want to be positive that allowing 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 700 to get a decent interest rate. You can qualify for a mortgage loan with a lower score, but the interest accrued over the life of the loan could be more than double the amount of someone having a better credit score.
Getting your credit in order is the first step in buying 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 better score, but how do you get it? Improving your FICO score takes time. It can be hard to make a significant change in your credit 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. Here are some ways you can improve your credit score:
- Apply for gas cards or department store credit. For those who have non-existent credit or low credit, store credit cards and gas credit cards are ways to start your credit history, increase your credit limits and keep up your payments, which will raise your credit. You should always avoid maintaining a large balance for too long because these types of cards normally have a surprising interest rate.
- Don't let your cards get dusty. 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 one or two payments.
- Stay on top of payments. How often you're late with payments greatly affects your credit score. It's where people who have recently been unemployed see the biggest hit in their credit score. Yes, it takes longer to build up your credit with payment history, but it's the surest way to prove that you're able to make payments to a bank.
- Correct your credit report. 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 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 steer clear of having 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 a lower balance than to have the majority of your debt taking up the balance one card.
Now that you're better informed about credit reporting, you'll be able to successfully take the first steps to homeownership, and that is improving your FICO score. Keep in mind that when you're ready to apply for a loan to purchase a house, you'll want to keep your applications within a two-week window to avoid adverse effects on your credit score. With the help of Kivett Realty, shopping for a mortgage is sure to go more smoothly so you, too, can become a homeowner.
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.