Scoring Your Credit
Choosing a lender isn't the first step in becoming a homeowner. In reality, the home buying process begins with your finances. To propel your dreams of homeownership forward, you must consider your FICO score along with the type of mortgage loan for which you'll qualify in Maplewood, Minnesota.
The Fair Isaac Company bases your FICO score on the summary of your total credit history. 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 loan. Some of the factors in calculating your FICO score include:
- Types of Credit — Do you have a healthy mix of loans and credit cards?
- Payment History — How many late payments have you made?
- Credit to Debt Ratio — How much do you owe versus your available credit?
- Credit Inquiries — How many times has your credit history been accessed by someone other than you?
When you pull your credit report, 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 a view of what type of borrower you'd be based solely on your credit history. You'll need a score of at least 700 to get a acceptable interest rate. You'll still qualify for a mortgage with a lower score, but the interest paid over time could be more than double the amount of an individual with a better credit score.
Improving your FICO is the best way to ease into buying a home. Call us at 651-770-4857 and we can help you get on the right track to the home of your dreams.
There are plans to increase your score. Building your FICO score takes time. It can be difficult 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 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:
- Keep your cards active. Whether you're just getting started with credit, or if you've got older cards, use your cards so that your accounts stay active. But, make sure you pay them off in one or two payments.
- Keep up with payments. Late payments hurt your credit score. 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 build up your credit this way, but it's the most reliable way to prove that you're able to make payments to a bank.
- Ensure that your credit history is correct. If you discover mistakes 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 pay extra attention to make sure the activity reported is correct.
- Spread your debt around. At first, this doesn't seem like a good idea. But, you want to avoid 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 less than 40% of their credit limit than to have the majority of your debt transferred to a single card.
- Apply for gas cards or retail credit. For those who have no credit or less-than-stellar credit, department store credit cards and gas credit cards are ways to improve credit, increase your credit limits and keep up your payments, which will raise your credit. You must always avoid keeping a large balance for more than a couple of months because these types of cards normally have a higher interest rate.
Knowing the ways you can 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 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 Axis 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 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.