How's Your Score?
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. Saving your money for a down payment is great, but if you don't have an acceptable credit score to back it up, you could end up renting for another couple of years in Asheboro, North Carolina until you raise your score.
A FICO score is a review of your years of credit history based on a model developed by Fair Isaac and Company. The score ranges from 300 to 850, with the majority of people normally having a score of 650. Since we've experienced an economic downturn, however, some borrowers have seen their score drop dramatically as a result of loss of employment, delinquent credit card accounts, or credit card accounts terminated because the card didn't carry a high balance. Some of the factors in reviewing your FICO score include:
- Types of Credit — Do you have a healthy mix of credit cards and loans?
- Payment History — How many months do you make late payments?
- 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 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'd 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 a decent interest rate. You'll still qualify for a mortgage loan with a lower score, but the interest paid in the long run could be more than double the amount of someone with a near perfect credit score.
We're used to working with all levels of FICO scores. Contact us
and we can help you get on the right track to the home of your dreams.
You want an improved score, but how do you get there? Building your FICO score takes time. It can be rare to make a large-scale change in your FICO score 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 most important thing is to know your FICO score. You'll improve your credit score by using these helpful hints:
- Stay on top of payments. Delinquent payments instantly drop your credit score. It's one of the reasons people who have recently been unemployed see the biggest dip in their credit score. Yes, it takes longer to build up your credit with payment history, 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 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.
- 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 your remaining cards at a zero balance. It's better to have each of your cards at about 20% of their credit limit than to have the bulk of your debt sitting on a single card.
- Apply for gas cards or chain store credit. For those who have no credit or less-than-stellar credit, retail credit cards and gas credit cards are ways to establish your credit history, increase your credit limits and stay on top of your payments, which will raise your credit. You should always beware of holding a high balance for more than a couple of billing cycles because these types of cards traditionally have a higher interest rate.
- Keep your cards active. Whether you're just getting started with credit, or if you've got older cards, use your cards to make sure your accounts stay active. But, make sure you pay them off in one or two payments.
Knowing the methods you can use to improve your credit score, you can move toward becoming a homeowner. Remember that when you're ready 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 The Real Estate Shoppe, shopping for a mortgage is sure to go more smoothly so you, too, can become a homeowner.
Learn more about FICO scores at www.myFICO.com, Fair Isaac's informational site and once per year, for free, you can review all three of your credit reports at www.annualcreditreport.com. And, for a small payment, you can get your FICO score from each bureau on their websites: www.equifax.com, www.experian.com and www.transunion.com.
We won't judge you based on your credit scores and can help you settle into home ownership with the right mortgage lender for you. E-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 336 625 1100 for more information.