Scoring Your Credit - How's Your Credit Score
Choosing a lender isn't the first step in becoming a homeowner. In reality, the home buying process begins and ends with your finances. Without a reasonable FICO score, buying a house is harder and, you could find yourself renting for another couple of years in Central Jersey until you raise your score.
The Fair Isaac Company bases your FICO score on the summary of your complete credit history. The score ranges from 300 to 850, with most people normally 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 pieces in summing up your FICO score are:
- Payment History — How many late payments have you made?
- Credit to Debt Ratio — How much do you owe versus how much credit you have available?
- 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 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 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.
Lenders want to ensure that allowing you a loan isn't a risk for them. Your credit score gives lenders an insight into what type of borrower you are solely because of 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 an acceptable interest rate. You can qualify for a loan with a lower score, but the interest paid in the long run could be more than double the amount of an individual with a superior credit score.
We're used to working with all tiers of FICO scores. Call us at (800) 542-0372 and we can help you get on the right track to the home of your dreams.
There are ways to raise your score. Building your FICO score takes time. It can be difficult to make a significant stride change in your number with quick fixes, but your score can improve in a few years by keeping tabs your credit report and by using your credit wisely. 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 in rotation. Whether you're just getting started with credit, or if you've got older cards, use your cards to make sure your accounts maintain an active status. But, be sure to pay them off in no more than two or three payments.
- Pay on time. Your FICO score plummets with each account that goes to collections. It's where people who have recently been unemployed 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 show that you're able to make payments to a bank.
- Ensure that your credit history is correct. If you find 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 don't want to have one card that is holding the maximum and have your remaining cards at a zero balance. It's better to have each of your cards at an even balance than to have all of your debt transferred to a single card.
- Retail cards and gas cards. For those who have non-existent credit or below average credit, department store credit cards and gas credit cards are ways to start your credit history, increase your credit limits and have a solid payment history, which will raise your credit. You must always beware of keeping a high balance for more than a couple of months because these types of cards more than likely have a higher interest rate.
Now that you know more about credit reporting, you'll be able to successfully take the first step in owning a home, and that is improving your FICO score. Know that when you're ready to apply for a loan to purchase a house, you'll want to keep your lender applications within a two-week window to avoid adverse effects on your credit score. With the help of Homes & Loans Outlet, shopping for a mortgage is sure to go more smoothly so you, too, can achieve home ownership.
To learn more, visit 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 work with all levels of credit history and can help you settle into home ownership with the right mortgage lender for you. E-mail us at Training@PipelineROI.com or call (800) 542-0372 for more information.