Ways to Raise Your FICO Score for Home Buying
Choosing a lender isn't the first step in becoming a homeowner. In reality, the home buying process begins and ends with your finances. To realize your goal of owning a home, you must consider your FICO score along with the type of mortgage loan for which you'll qualify in DuBois.
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 the majority of people traditionally having a score of 650. 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 pieces in reviewing 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 — How many months do you make late payments?
- 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 a view of what type of borrower you'll be based solely on your credit history. You'll need a score of at least 700 to get a decent interest rate. You can get approved for a mortgage with a lower score, but the interest paid over time could be more than double that of an individual with a better FICO score.
We're used to working with all levels of FICO 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? Improving your FICO score takes time. It can be hard to make a significant change in your number with small changes, but your score can improve in a year by monitoring 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:
- Department store cards and gas station cards. For those who have no credit or less-than-stellar credit, chain store 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 should always avoid holding a large balance for more than a couple of billing cycles because these types of cards usually 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 stay active. But, be sure to pay them off in one or two payments.
- Keep up with payments. How often you're late with payments greatly affects your credit score. It's where 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 most reliable way to show that you're responsible enough to make payments to a bank.
- Ensure that your credit history is correct. 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 sound like a good idea. But, you don't want to have one card that is holding the maximum and have the rest of your cards at a zero balance. It's better to have each of your cards at about less than 40% of their credit limit than to have all of your debt transferred to a single card.
Knowing the ways you can raise your credit score, you're one step closer to becoming a homeowner. Remember that when you're ready to apply for a loan to purchase a home, you'll want to keep your applications within a two-week window to avoid adverse effects on your credit score. With the help of Hoffer Realty Associates, the loan application process 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 you can review all of your credit reports for free each year 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.