Tips on Improving Your FICO Score for Home Buying
The road to home ownership doesn't start 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 realize your goal of owning a home, considering your credit score is a must along with the type of loan for which you'll qualify in Albuquerque.
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 normally 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 just that and often means you can't get credit extended to you via a mortgage loan. 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 credit cards and loans?
- Payment History — How many late payments have you made?
- Credit to Debt Ratio — How much do you owe versus your available credit?
In reviewing your credit history, you'll discover that you actually have three reports. Experian, Equifax and TransUnion — three of the major credit reporting agencies — use a slightly different systems 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.
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'll be 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. You'll still get approved for a mortgage loan with a lower score, but the interest accumulated over time could be more than double that of an individual with a higher credit score.
Staying on top of your FICO score is the best way to ease into buying a home. Contact us and we can help you get on the right track to the home of your dreams.
There are ways to boost your score. Improving your FICO score takes time. It can be difficult 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 wisely using credit. The best way to do this is to know your FICO score. You'll improve your credit score by using these tips:
- Ensure that your credit history is correct. If you find 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.
- 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 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 all of your debt transferred to a single card.
- Department store 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 begin your credit history, increase your credit limits and keep up your payments, which will raise your FICO score. You must always beware of carrying a large balance for too long because these types of cards normally have a surprisingly high interest rate.
- 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 so that your accounts maintain an active status. But, be sure to pay them off in no more than two or three payments.
- Pay on time. How often you're late with payments greatly affects your credit score. It's where people who have recently been unemployed see the biggest hit in their credit score. Yes, it takes longer to restore your credit with payment history, but it's the most reliable way to show that you're responsible enough to make payments to a bank.
Knowing the methods you can use to build up 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 house, you'll want to keep your lender applications within a two-week window to avoid a negative mark on your credit score. With the help of Qmetro Realtors Inc, the loan application process is sure to go more smoothly 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.