Raising Your FICO Score for Home Buying
Choosing a lender isn't the first step in becoming a homeowner. In reality, the home buying process starts with your finances. To realize your goal of owning a home, you must consider your FICO score along with the type of lender for which you'll qualify in Austin.
A FICO score is a collection of your years of credit history based on a model developed by Fair Isaac and Company. The score ranges from 300 to 850, with most people normally having a score of 650. In recent years, however, some borrowers have seen their score lowered as a result of unemployment, delinquent credit card accounts, or credit card accounts that were closed because they don't carry a balance. Some of the factors in reviewing 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 loans and credit cards?
- Payment History — Do you pay your bills on time ?
- 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 systems to calculate your credit rating. FICO is used by Experian. Equifax's model is called BEACON and TransUnion uses EMPIRICA. As a result, you have three scores, one for each scoring model.
Lenders want to be positive that giving you a loan isn't a risk for them. Your FICO score gives lenders a view of what type of borrower you'd be solely because of your credit history. Because of the shift in the economy, most home buyers should have scores in the range of 740 or higher to get a satisfactory interest rate. You'll still qualify for a mortgage loan with a lower score, but the interest accrued in the long run could be more than double that of someone with a near perfect credit score.
I'm used to working with all levels of FICO scores. Call me at 5124441300 and I can help you get on the right track to the home of your dreams.
There are ways to raise your score. Improving your FICO score takes time. It can be rare to make a significant change in your credit score with quick fixes, but your score can improve in a year or two by keeping tabs 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 pointers:
- Correct your credit report. If you discover mistakes on your credit report, contact 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 steer clear of having 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 a smaller balance than to have the most of your debt taking up the balance one card.
- Apply for gas station cards or store credit. For those who have non-existent credit or below average credit, department store credit cards and gas credit cards are ways to begin your credit history, increase your spending limits and have a solid payment history, which will raise your credit. You should always beware of keeping a high balance for more than a couple of months because these types of cards traditionally have a surprisingly high interest rate.
- Keep your cards in rotation. Whether you have older cards, or are just getting started with credit, use your cards to make sure your accounts stay active. But, be sure to pay them off in no more than two or three payments.
- Stay on top of payments. Your credit 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 restore your credit with payment history, but it's the surest way to show that you're responsible enough to make payments to a lender.
Now that you're better informed about credit reporting, you'll be able to successfully take the first steps to homeownership, and that is improving your FICO score. Remember that when you're ready to apply for a loan to purchase a home, 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 Westbank Realty, the loan application process can be a stress-free experience so you, too, can become a homeowner.
Get more information by visiting www.myFICO.com, Fair Isaac's informational site and review your credit history for free 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.
I work with all tiers of credit scores and can help you settle into home ownership with the right mortgage lender for you. E-mail me at email@example.com or call 5124441300 for more information.