Ways to Increase Your FICO Score for Home Buying
Choosing a lender isn't the first step in becoming a homeowner. The content of your wallet starts the home buying process. To make your goal of homeownership realized, you must consider your FICO score along with the type of mortgage loan for which you'll qualify in Saint Cloud.
The Fair Isaac Company calculates your FICO score on the summary of your total credit history. Most people usually have a score of 650, but scores are tiered from 300 to 850. Job loss has been common in the last few years, but FICO scores aren't necessarily adjusted "on a curve." A low score is a low score and that often means you can't get credit extended to you via a mortgage loan. Some of the pieces in determining your FICO score are:
- Types of Credit — Do you have a healthy mix of credit cards and loans?
- Payment History — How often do you make late payments?
- Credit to Debt Ratio — How much do you owe versus your available credit?
- Credit Inquiries — How many times has your credit history been accessed by someone other than you?
Lenders want to ensure that allowing 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 700 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 higher credit score.
Staying on top of your FICO score is the best way to ease into buying a home. Contact us and we can help you get on the right track to the home of your dreams.
There are strategies to increase your score. Building your FICO score takes time. It can be rare to make a significant change in your credit score with quick fixes, but your score can improve in a year or two by monitoring 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 pointers:
- Store cards and gas cards. For those who have no credit or less-than-stellar credit, retail credit cards and gas credit cards are ways to begin your credit history, increase your spending 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 traditionally have a higher interest rate.
- Don't let your cards get dusty. 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, pay them off in one or two payments.
- Keep up with payments. Delinquent payments drastically drop your credit score. It's one of the reasons people who have recently experienced job loss see the biggest dip in their credit score. Yes, it takes longer to rebuild your credit with payment history, but it's the surest way to prove that you're able to make payments to a bank.
- Ensure that your credit history is correct. If you discover incorrect items on your credit report, contact 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 sound like a good idea. But, you don't want to have one card that is maxed out and have your remaining 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 transferred to one card.
Knowing the methods you can use to improve your FICO score, you're one step closer to becoming a homeowner. 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 a negative mark on your credit score. With the help of Preferred Real Estate, 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 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.