Raising Your FICO Score for Home Ownership
You might think that the home buying process starts with getting pre-approved by a lender or with choosing a real estate agent. The content of your wallet starts the home buying process. Without an acceptable credit score, purchasing a house is harder and, you could find yourself renting for another couple of years in Stuart until your FICO score is acceptable.
A FICO score is a review of your years of credit history based on an instrument developed by Fair Isaac and Company. 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 a decent interest rate. Some of the factors in deciding your FICO score include:
- 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 late payments have you made?
- Credit to Debt Ratio — How much do you owe versus your available credit?
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 models to calculate 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.
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 less than that, you can still qualify for a loan, but the interest accumulated over the life of the loan could be more than double the amount of an individual having a superior credit score.
We're used to working with all tiers of FICO scores. Call us at 772 287 1777 and we can help you get on the right track to the home of your dreams.
You want a higher score, but how do you get there? Building your FICO score takes time. It can be difficult to make a large-scale change in your credit score with quick fixes, but your score can improve in a few years by keeping tabs 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 pointers:
- Keep up with payments. Delinquent payments instantly drop 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 surest way to prove that you're able to make payments to a lender.
- Correct your credit report. If you find 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 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 all of your debt sitting on a single card.
- Department store cards and gas cards. For those who have non-existent credit or low credit, retail credit cards and gas credit cards are ways to get credit, increase your credit limits and stay on top of your payments, which will raise your credit. You must always beware of holding a high balance for too long because these types of cards traditionally have a surprisingly high interest rate.
- Keep your cards active. Whether you have older cards, or are just getting started with credit, be sure to use your cards to make sure your accounts maintain an active status. But, pay them off in no more than two or three 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. Remember that when it's time to apply for a loan to purchase a home, you'll want to keep your lender applications within a two-week window to avoid a negative mark on your credit score. With the help of Premier Realty Group, Inc., 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 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.