Home buyer's Guide to Better Credit
Choosing a lender isn't the first step in becoming a homeowner. The content of your wallet begins the home buying process. Putting back your money for a down payment is great, but if you lack an acceptable credit score to back it up, you could end up renting for another couple of years in Mineral Wells until you raise your score.
The Fair Isaac Company bases your FICO score on the summary of your total credit history. Most people usually have a score of 600, but scores are tiered from 300 to 850. With the change in the economy, however, some people have seen their score drop dramatically as a result of job loss, closed credit card accounts, or credit card accounts that were closed because they don't carry a balance. Some of the factors in deciding your FICO score are:
- Credit to Debt Ratio — How much do you owe versus how much credit you have available?
- Credit Inquiries — Do you have too many open accounts?
- Types of Credit — Do you have a healthy mix of loans and credit cards?
- Payment History — How many late payments have you made?
When you pull your credit report, you'll discover 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 all of the bureaus.
Lenders want to be positive that allowing 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 satisfactory interest rate. You'll still qualify for a mortgage loan with a lower score, but the interest accumulated over time could be more than double the amount of an individual with a superior FICO score.
Staying on top of your FICO score is the best way to ease into buying a home. Call us at (940) 325-2006 and we can help you get on the right track to the home of your dreams.
There are strategies to raise your score. Building your FICO score takes time. It can be difficult to make a significant stride change in your number with small changes, 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 tips:
- Correct your credit report. If you discover mistakes on your credit report, contact the bureau requesting 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 want to avoid of having 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 a lower balance than to have the bulk of your debt sitting on a single card.
- Apply for gas station cards or retail credit. For those who have no credit or below average credit, store 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 credit. You should always beware of maintaining a large balance for more than a couple of billing cycles because these types of cards normally have a surprisingly high interest rate.
- Use your credit. 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, be sure to pay them off in one or two payments.
- Stay on top of payments. Delinquent payments instantly drop your credit score. 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 restore your credit with payment history, but it's the surest way to show that you're responsible enough to make payments to a bank.
Knowing the methods you can use to build up your credit 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 applications within a two-week window to avoid a negative mark on your credit score. With the help of Ender & Associates Realty, shopping for a mortgage can be a stress-free experience so you, too, can become a homeowner.
Learn more about FICO scores at 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.