Increasing Your FICO Score for Home Ownership
The home buying process doesn't start with getting pre-approved for a loan or with choosing a real estate agent. The content of your wallet starts the home buying process. 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 Huntersville.
A FICO score is a review of your years of credit history based on an instrument developed by Fair Isaac and Company. Most people usually have a score of 650, but scores are tiered from 300 to 850. 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 via a mortgage loan. Some of the factors in calculating your FICO score include:
- Credit Inquiries — How many times has your credit history been accessed by someone other than you?
- Types of Credit — Do you have a healthy mix of credit cards and loans?
- Payment History — How often do you make late payments?
- Credit to Debt Ratio — How much do you owe versus how much credit you have available?
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. You have a credit score with each of the bureaus.
Lenders want to be positive that allowing you a loan isn't a risk for them. Your FICO score gives lenders an insight into what type of borrower you'd be based solely on your credit history. You'll need a score of at least 740 to get a satisfactory interest rate. If your score is less than that, you can still qualify for a loan, but the interest paid over the life of the loan could be more than double that of someone having a superior credit score.
We're used to working with all levels of credit scores. Call us at 704-780-4981 and we can help you get on the right track to the home of your dreams.
You want a stronger score, but how do you get there? Improving your FICO score takes time. It can be rare to make a large-scale change in your number with quick fixes, but your score can improve in a few years by monitoring your credit report and by using credit extended to you to raise your score, instead of ruin it. The best way to do this is to know your FICO score. You'll improve your credit score by using these pointers:
- Even out your debt. 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 25% of their credit limit than to have all of your debt transferred to a single card.
- Department store cards and service station cards. For those who have non-existent credit or less-than-stellar credit, department store credit cards and gas credit cards are ways to obtain credit, increase your credit limits and keep up your payments, which will raise your FICO score. You should always beware of keeping a high balance for too long because these types of cards usually have a steeper 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 maintain an active status. But, pay them off in no more than two or three payments.
- Keep up with payments. 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 rebuild your credit this way, but it's the most reliable way to prove that you're able to make payments to a lender.
- Ensure that your credit history is correct. If you find incorrect items on your credit report, contact 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.
Knowing the ways you can build up your FICO score, you can move toward 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 Wilson Realty, the loan process is sure to go more smoothly so you, too, can achieve home ownership.
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.