Scoring Your Credit - How's Your FICO?
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 and ends 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 West Palm Beach.
The Fair Isaac Company bases your FICO score on the summary of your total credit history. The score ranges from 300 to 850, with most 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 credit extended to you in the form of a mortgage loan. Some of the pieces in reviewing your FICO score are:
- Payment History — Do you pay your bills on time ?
- 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 loans and credit cards?
In reviewing your credit history, you'll find that you actually have three reports. Experian, Equifax and TransUnion — three of the major credit reporting agencies — use a slightly different models to calculate your credit rating. FICO is used by Experian. Equifax's model is called BEACON and TransUnion uses EMPIRICA. Because of this, 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 risk. Your FICO score gives lenders a view of what type of borrower you'll be solely because of your credit history. You'll need a score of at least 700 to get a 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 someone having a better FICO score.
Improving your FICO score is the first step in purchasing a home. Contact us and we can help you get on the right track to the home of your dreams.
There are methods to boost your score. Building your FICO score takes time. It can be hard to make a large-scale change in your FICO score with small changes, but your score can improve in a few years 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. Here are some methods to improve your credit score:
- 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 at the maximum 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 sitting on one card.
- Apply for gas station cards or chain store credit. For those who have non-existent credit or low credit, chain store credit cards and gas credit cards are ways to start your credit history, increase your credit limits and keep up your payments, which will raise your credit. You should always beware of holding a high balance for more than a couple of months because these types of cards traditionally have a surprisingly high interest rate.
- Keep your cards in rotation. Whether you have older cards, or are just getting started with credit, use your cards to make sure your accounts stay active. But, be sure to pay them off in no more than two or three payments.
- Stay on top of payments. Payment history is a huge factor in your FICO 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 surest way to prove that you're able to make payments to a bank.
- Correct your credit report. If you discover mistakes 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.
Knowing the methods you can use to raise your credit score, you're one step closer to becoming a homeowner. Keep in mind that when it's time to apply for a loan to purchase a home, you'll want to keep your credit inquiries within a two-week window to avoid a negative mark on your credit score. With the help of Blue to Green Realty, the loan process can be a stress-free experience 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.