How's Your FICO?
Choosing a lender isn't the first step in becoming a homeowner. In reality, the home buying process begins with your finances. To propel your dreams of homeownership forward, you must consider your FICO score along with the type of loan for which you'll qualify in Arcadia, Florida.
The Fair Isaac Company calculates your FICO score on the summary of your total credit history. Most people usually have a score of 650, but scores are tiered from 300 to 850. 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 loan. Some of the pieces in reviewing your FICO score are:
- Payment History — Do you pay your bills on time each month?
- 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?
- Types of Credit — Do you have a healthy mix of loans and credit cards?
When you pull your credit report, you'll see that you actually have three reports. Experian, Equifax and TransUnion — three of the major credit reporting agencies — use a slightly different systems to determine 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 bureau.
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 are based solely on your credit history. You'll need a score of at least 740 to get a satisfactory interest rate. You can get approved for a mortgage loan with a lower score, but the interest paid over the life of the loan could be more than double the amount of someone having a better credit score.
We're used to working with all levels of credit scores. Contact us and we can help you get on the right track to the home of your dreams.
There are ways to boost your score. Building your FICO score takes time. It can be hard to make a significant stride change in your credit score with quick fixes, but your score can improve in a year 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 methods to improve your credit score:
- Stay on top of payments. Late payments hurt your FICO score. It's where people who have recently been unemployed see the biggest hit in their credit score. Yes, it takes longer to rebuild your credit with payment history, but it's the most reliable way to prove that you're responsible enough to make payments to a bank.
- Correct your credit report. If you find mistakes on your credit report, contact 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 give extra care to make sure the activity reported is correct.
- Even out your debt. 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 about less than 40% of their credit limit than to have the bulk of your debt transferred to a single card.
- Apply for gas station cards or department store credit. For those who have non-existent credit or below average credit, store credit cards and gas credit cards are ways to begin your credit history, increase your credit limits and keep up your payments, which will raise your credit. You must always avoid charging a large balance for too long because these types of cards traditionally have a steeper interest rate.
- Keep your cards active. Whether you're just getting started with credit, or if you've got older cards, be sure to use your cards so that your accounts maintain an active status. But, be sure to pay them off in one or two payments.
Knowing the methods you can use to build up your FICO score, you're one step closer to becoming a homeowner. Keep in mind that when it's time to apply for a loan to purchase a home, 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 The Williamson Group Realty, Inc., the loan process can be a stress-free experience so you, too, can become a homeowner.
Learn more about FICO scores at 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.