Raising Your FICO Score for Home Buying
Choosing a lender isn't the first step in becoming a homeowner. In reality, the home buying process starts with your finances. To propel your dreams of homeownership forward, you must consider your FICO score along with the type of lender for which you'll qualify in Gatesville, Texas.
The Fair Isaac Company calculates your FICO score on the summary of your complete credit history. Most people usually have a score of 600, but scores are tiered from 300 to 850. 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 a low score and that often means you can't get credit extended to you via a mortgage loan. Some of the pieces in calculating your FICO score include:
- 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 credit cards and loans?
- Payment History — How often do you make late payments?
When you pull your credit report, 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. This means you have three scores, one for each scoring model.
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 credit 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 an acceptable interest rate. If your score is lower, you can still qualify for a loan, but the interest paid over the life of the loan could be more than double that of someone with a higher FICO score.
Improving your credit score is the first step in purchasing a home. Call us at 254-248-1212 and we can help you get on the right track to the home of your dreams.
How do you obtain a higher score? Improving your FICO score takes time. It can be hard to make a significant stride change in your credit score with small changes, but your score can improve in a year or two by keeping tabs your credit report and by using credit extended to you to raise your score, instead of ruin it. The most important thing 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'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.
- 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 experienced job loss see the biggest hit in their credit score. Yes, it takes longer to rebuild your credit this way, but it's the surest way to show that you're responsible enough to make payments to a bank.
- Correct your credit report. If you discover incorrect items on your credit report, write to 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 pay extra attention 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 maxed out and have the rest of your cards at a zero balance. It's better to have each of your cards at a smaller balance than to have the most of your debt taking up the balance a single card.
- Retail cards and gas cards. For those who have non-existent credit or less-than-stellar credit, chain store credit cards and gas credit cards are ways to obtain credit, increase your credit limits and keep up your payments, which will raise your credit. You must always avoid holding a high balance for more than a couple of billing cycles because these types of cards usually have a surprisingly high interest rate.
Knowing the methods you can use to build up your FICO score, you can move toward becoming a homeowner. Remember 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 Kristi's Properties, shopping for a mortgage is sure to go more smoothly 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.