Raising 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 quality of your wallet starts the home buying process. To realize your goal of owning a home, considering your credit score is a must along with the type of lender for which you'll qualify in Colorado Springs, Colorado.
The Fair Isaac Company calculates your FICO score on the summary of your complete credit history. The score ranges from 300 to 850, with most people traditionally having a score of 650. Job loss has been common in the last few years, but FICO scores aren't necessarily adjusted "on a curve." A low score is just that and often means you can't get a decent interest rate. Some of the pieces in summing up your FICO score are:
- Credit Inquiries — Do you have too many open accounts?
- Types of Credit — Do you have a healthy mix of loans and credit cards?
- 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?
When you pull your credit report, 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 of the bureaus.
Lenders want to make sure that giving you a loan is a safe move. Your FICO score gives lenders a view of what type of borrower you'd 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 lower, you can still qualify for a loan, but the interest accrued over the life of the loan could be more than double that of an individual having a superior credit score.
We're used to working with all levels of credit history. Call us at (719) 528-6672 and we can help you get on the right track to the home of your dreams.
How do you obtain a better score? 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 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:
- Store cards and gas 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 start your credit history, increase your credit limits and have a solid payment history, which will raise your credit. You should always beware of keeping a high balance for too long because these types of cards normally have a larger interest rate.
- Keep your cards in rotation. Whether you're just getting started with credit, or if you've got older cards, be sure to 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.
- Keep up with payments. Late payments hurt your credit history. It's where people who have recently experienced job loss see the biggest dip in their credit score. Yes, it takes longer to build up your credit with payment history, but it's the surest way to show that you're responsible enough 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 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 steer clear of having one card that is at the limit and have the rest of your cards at a zero balance. It's better to have each of your cards at about 30% of their credit limit than to have the majority of your debt sitting on one card.
Knowing the ways you can improve your credit score, you can move toward becoming a homeowner. Keep in mind that when it's time to apply for a loan to purchase a house, you'll want to keep your credit inquiries within a two-week window to avoid damaging your credit score. With the help of Brian L. A. Wess, the loan process can be a stress-free experience so you, too, can achieve home ownership.
Learn more about FICO scores at 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.