Scoring Your Credit - How's Your Credit Score
Choosing a lender isn't the first step in becoming a homeowner. In reality, the home buying process starts and ends with your finances. 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 Fall River.
A FICO score is a review of your years of credit history based on a model developed by Fair Isaac and Company. The score ranges from 300 to 850, with the majority of people normally having a score of 600. 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 via a mortgage loan. Some of the pieces in calculating 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 credit cards and loans?
- Payment History — How many times do you make late payments?
- Credit to Debt Ratio — How much do you owe versus how much credit you have available?
In reviewing your credit history, you'll see 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. Because of this, you have three scores, one for each scoring model.
Lenders want to ensure that giving you a loan is a safe move. Your FICO score gives lenders an insight into 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. You can qualify for a mortgage loan with a lower score, but the interest accumulated in the long run could be more than double the amount of an individual with a stronger FICO score.
We're used to working with all tiers of FICO scores. Contact us and we can help you get on the right track to the home of your dreams.
There are strategies to boost your score. Improving your FICO score takes time. It can be hard to make a significant stride change in your FICO score with small changes, but your score can improve in a year by monitoring your credit report and by using credit extended to you to raise your score, instead of ruin it. The best way to do this is to know your FICO score. You'll improve your credit score by using these tips:
- Don't let your cards get dusty. Whether you have older cards, or are just getting started with credit, be sure to use your cards to make sure your accounts stay active. But, make sure you pay them off in one or two payments.
- Keep up with payments. How often you're late with payments greatly affects your credit score. It's where people who have recently experienced job loss see the biggest hit in their credit score. Yes, it takes longer to restore your credit with payment history, but it's the most reliable way to show 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 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 don't want to have one card that is at the maximum 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 transferred to one card.
- Apply for gas cards or retail credit. For those who have no credit or less-than-stellar credit, department store credit cards and gas credit cards are ways to establish your credit history, increase your credit limits and have a solid payment history, which will raise your credit. You must always beware of holding a high balance for more than a couple of billing cycles because these types of cards normally have a larger interest rate.
Knowing the ways you can raise your credit score, you can move toward becoming a homeowner. 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 E Z Home Search Real Estate Inc., the loan process can be a stress-free experience so you, too, can become a homeowner.
To learn more, visit 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.