Scoring Your Credit
The road to home ownership doesn't start with getting pre-approved for a loan or with choosing a real estate agent. The content of your wallet begins the home buying process. To make your goal of homeownership realized, considering your credit score is a must along with the type of mortgage loan for which you'll qualify in Landrum.
A FICO score is a collection of your years of credit history based on an instrument developed by Fair Isaac and Company. The score ranges from 300 to 850, with most people traditionally having a score of 600. In recent years, however, some borrowers have seen their score drop by hundreds of points because of loss of employment, delinquent credit card accounts, or credit card accounts that were closed because they don't carry a balance. Some of the pieces in calculating your FICO score are:
- 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 every month?
- Credit to Debt Ratio — How much do you owe versus how much credit you have available?
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 FICO score gives lenders an insight into what type of borrower you'll be based solely on your credit history. You'll need a score of at least 700 to get a acceptable interest rate. If your score is less than that, you can still qualify for a loan, but the interest accumulated over time could be more than double that of someone with a higher credit score.
Improving your FICO is the best way to ease into buying a home. Call us at 828-817-1796 and we can help you get on the right track to the home of your dreams.
You want a higher score, but how do you get it? Building your FICO score takes time. It can be rare to make a significant stride change in your credit 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 best way to do this is to know your FICO score. Here are some ways you can improve your credit score:
- Stay on top of payments. Payment history is a big factor in 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 this way, but it's the surest way to show 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 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.
- Even out your debt. At first, this doesn't sound like a good idea. But, you want to avoid of having one card that is holding the maximum and have the rest of your cards at a zero balance. It's better to have each of your cards at about less than 40% of their credit limit than to have the majority of your debt sitting on a single card.
- Department store cards and gas station cards. For those who have non-existent credit or below average credit, chain store credit cards and gas credit cards are ways to establish your credit history, increase your spending limits and stay on top of your payments, which will raise your credit. You must always beware of charging a high balance for more than a couple of billing cycles because these types of cards usually have a larger interest rate.
- Keep your cards active. Whether you have older cards, or are just getting started with credit, be sure to use your cards so that your accounts maintain an active status. But, make sure you pay them off in one or two payments.
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. Keep in mind 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 adverse effects on your credit score. With the help of Mickey Hambright, the loan process can be a stress-free experience so you, too, can become a homeowner.
Get more information by visiting myFICO.com, Fair Isaac's informational site and review your credit history for free 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.