How's Your FICO?
Choosing a lender isn't the first step in becoming a homeowner. In reality, the home buying process starts with your finances. Without an above average credit score, buying a house is harder and, you could find yourself renting longer than you expected in Cary until your score improves.
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. 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 factors in calculating your FICO score include:
- Credit to Debt Ratio — How much do you owe versus your available credit?
- 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 — Do you pay your bills on time each month?
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 solely because of your credit history. You'll need a score of at least 740 to get a satisfactory interest rate. If your score is lower, you can still qualify for a loan, but the interest accrued in the long run could be more than double that of someone having a higher credit score.
We're used to working with all tiers of FICO scores. Contact us and we can help you get on the right track to the home of your dreams.
There are plans to improve your score. Building your FICO score takes time. It can be hard to make a significant change in your credit score with small changes, but your score can improve in a few years 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 methods to improve your credit score:
- Use your credit. 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 one or two payments.
- Stay on top of payments. Late payments kill your FICO 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 rebuild your credit this way, but it's the most reliable way to prove 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, 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 give extra care to make sure the activity reported is correct.
- Spread your debt around. At first, this doesn't sound like a good idea. But, you want to avoid of having one card that is maxed out and have your remaining cards at a zero balance. It's better to have each of your cards at a smaller balance than to have all of your debt taking up the balance one card.
- Apply for gas station cards or department store credit. For those who have non-existent credit or less-than-stellar credit, 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 FICO score. You should always avoid charging a high balance for more than a couple of months because these types of cards normally have a steeper interest rate.
Knowing the methods you can use to raise your FICO score, you can move toward becoming a homeowner. Remember that when you're ready to apply for a loan to purchase a house, you'll want to keep your credit inquiries within a two-week window to avoid damaging your credit score. With the help of RE/MAX Performance, the loan application process is sure to go more smoothly 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.