Scoring Your Credit - How's Your FICO?
You might think 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 begins and ends with your finances. To become a homeowner, considering your credit score is a must along with the type of mortgage loan for which you'll qualify in DuBois.
A FICO score is a review of your years of credit history based on a model developed by Fair Isaac and Company. The score ranges from 300 to 850, with the majority of people traditionally having a score of 600. 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 a decent interest rate. Some of the factors in deciding your FICO score are:
- 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 — Do you pay your bills on time each month?
- Credit to Debt Ratio — How much do you owe versus your available credit?
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 each of the bureaus.
Lenders want to be positive that giving you a loan is a safe move. 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 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 the amount of an individual having a higher FICO score.
We're used to working with all tiers of credit scores. 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? Building your FICO score takes time. It can be difficult to make a significant change in your number with quick fixes, but your score can improve in a year or two by keeping tabs your credit report and by wisely using credit. The most important thing is to know your FICO score. You'll improve your credit score by using these helpful hints:
- Keep your cards in rotation. Whether you're just getting started with credit, or if you've got older cards, use your cards so that your accounts maintain an active status. But, make sure you pay them off in no more than two or three payments.
- Keep up with payments. Late payments kill your credit history. It's one of the reasons people who have recently experienced job loss see the biggest dip in their credit score. Yes, it takes longer to restore 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 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 seem 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 an even balance than to have the bulk of your debt transferred to a single card.
- Apply for service station cards or retail credit. For those who have non-existent credit or low credit, store credit cards and gas credit cards are ways to establish your credit history, increase your credit limits and stay on top of your payments, which will raise your credit. You must always beware of maintaining a large balance for too long because these types of cards usually have a steeper interest rate.
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 damaging your credit score. With the help of Hoffer Realty Associates, the loan application process can be a stress-free experience so you, too, can become a homeowner.
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.