Ways to Increase Your FICO Score for Home Buying
Most people assume that the home buying process starts with getting pre-approved by a lender or with choosing a real estate agent. 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 DuBois.
The Fair Isaac Company calculates your FICO score on the summary of your total credit history. Most people usually have a score of 650, but scores range 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 just that and often means you can't get a loan. Some of the pieces in determining your FICO score include:
- Credit to Debt Ratio — How much do you owe versus how much credit you have available?
- 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 loans and credit cards?
- Payment History — How many times do you make late payments?
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 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 three 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 risk. Your FICO score gives lenders an insight into what type of borrower you'd be solely because of 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. You'll still get approved for a mortgage loan with a lower score, but the interest accrued over the life of the loan could be more than double the amount of someone having a superior credit score.
Getting your credit in order is the best way to ease into purchasing 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 stride change in your credit score with quick fixes, but your score can improve in a year or two 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. Here are some ways you can improve your credit score:
- 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 your remaining cards at a zero balance. It's better to have each of your cards at about 20% of their credit limit than to have the most of your debt taking up the balance a single card.
- Apply for service station cards or store credit. For those who have non-existent credit or below average credit, department store credit cards and gas credit cards are ways to obtain credit, increase your spending limits and keep up your payments, which will raise your credit. You should always avoid carrying a high balance for more than a couple of billing cycles because these types of cards more than likely have a larger 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 stay active. But, be sure to pay them off in one or two payments.
- Pay on time. Payment history is a big factor in your credit score. It's where people who have recently experienced job loss see the biggest dip in their credit score. Yes, it takes longer to rebuild your credit with payment history, but it's the surest way to prove that you're responsible enough to make payments to a lender.
- Ensure that your credit history is correct. If you find 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.
Knowing the methods you can use to build up your credit score, you're one step closer to becoming a homeowner. Keep in mind that when you're ready to apply for a loan to purchase a house, you'll want to keep your lender applications within a two-week window to avoid damaging your credit score. With the help of Hoffer Realty Associates, the loan process can be a stress-free experience so you, too, can achieve home ownership.
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.