How's Your Credit?
Choosing a lender isn't the first step in becoming a homeowner. In reality, the home buying process begins with your finances. To make your goal of homeownership realized, considering your credit score is a must along with the type of mortgage loan for which you'll qualify in Spicewood.
A FICO score is a collection of your years of credit history based on a model developed by Fair Isaac and Company. The score ranges from 300 to 850, with most people traditionally having a score of 600. 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. Some of the pieces in deciding your FICO score include:
- 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 — Do you pay your bills on time each month?
- Credit to Debt Ratio — How much do you owe versus how much credit you have available?
When you apply for a mortgage or any other loan, lenders want to make sure that extending a loan to you isn't a risk. Your FICO score gives lenders an insight into what type of borrower you are solely because of your credit history. Because of the shift in the economy, most home buyers should have scores in the range of 740 or higher to get a satisfactory interest rate. You can get approved for a mortgage with a lower score, but the interest accrued over time could be more than double the amount of someone having a higher credit score.
Staying on top of your FICO score is the first step in owning a home. Contact us and we can help you get on the right track to the home of your dreams.
How do you boost your credit score? Improving your FICO score takes time. It can be rare to make a significant change in your credit score with small changes, but your score can improve in a year by keeping tabs your credit report and by wisely using credit. The best way to do this is to know your FICO score. Here are some ways you can improve your credit score:
- Stay on top of payments. How often you're late with payments greatly affects 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 rebuild your credit with payment history, but it's the most reliable way to show that you're able to make payments to a lender.
- Ensure that your credit history is correct. If you discover 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 give extra care to make sure the activity reported is correct.
- Spread your debt around. At first, this doesn't sound like a good idea. But, you steer clear of having one card that is at the limit and have the rest of your cards at a zero balance. It's better to have each of your cards at about 25% of their credit limit than to have the bulk of your debt taking up the balance a single card.
- Chain store cards and service station cards. For those who have non-existent credit or less-than-stellar credit, retail credit cards and gas credit cards are ways to obtain credit, increase your spending limits and keep up your payments, which will raise your FICO score. You should always avoid holding a large balance for more than a couple of billing cycles because these types of cards traditionally have a steeper interest rate.
- Keep your cards in rotation. Whether you're just getting started with credit, or if you've got older cards, be sure to use your cards to make sure your accounts stay active. But, pay them off in one or two payments.
Now that you know more 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 credit inquiries within a two-week window to avoid a negative mark on your credit score. With the help of HREG - Hollingsworth Real Estate Group @ Hollingsworth Center - Lee Hollingsworth, the loan process 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 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.