Ways to Improve Your FICO Score for Home Buying
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 begins the home buying process. To make your goal of homeownership realized, you must consider your FICO score along with the type of mortgage loan for which you’ll qualify in Saint Louis.
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 normally having a score of 600. In recent years, however, some people have seen their score drop dramatically because of loss of employment, charged off credit card accounts, or credit card accounts terminated because the card didn’t carry a high balance. Some of the pieces in calculating your FICO score include:
- Credit Inquiries — Do you have too many open accounts?
- Types of Credit — Do you have a healthy mix of credit cards and loans?
- 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?
Lenders want to make sure that giving you a loan is a safe move. Your FICO score gives lenders an insight into what type of borrower you’ll be solely because of your credit history. You’ll need a score of at least 700 to get a decent interest rate. You can get approved 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 stronger FICO score.
You want a better score, but how do you get there? 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 year by monitoring your credit report and by using your credit wisely. The most important thing is to know your FICO score. You’ll improve your credit score by using these tips:
- Pay on time. Payment history is a huge 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 rebuild your credit with payment history, but it’s the surest way to show that you’re responsible enough to make payments to a lender.
- Correct your credit report. 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 pay extra attention to make sure the activity reported is correct.
- Even out your debt. At first, this doesn’t seem like a good idea. But, you don’t want to have one card that is at the maximum and have the rest of your cards at a zero balance. It’s better to have each of your cards at an even balance than to have the majority of your debt taking up the balance a single card.
- Store cards and gas cards. For those who have non-existent credit or less-than-stellar credit, retail credit cards and gas credit cards are ways to obtain credit, increase your spending limits and stay on top of your payments, which will raise your FICO score. You should always avoid carrying a large balance for too long because these types of cards more than likely have a surprising interest rate.
- Use your credit. 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, make sure you pay them off in no more than two or three payments.
Now that you’re more informed about credit reporting, you’ll be able to successfully take the first step in owning a home, and that is improving your FICO score. Remember that when it’s time to apply for a loan to purchase a home, you’ll want to keep your lender applications within a two-week window to avoid damaging your credit score. With the help of MelanieCooperTeam at Realty Executives Premiere, the loan application process can be a stress-free experience so you, too, can achieve home ownership.
Learn more about FICO scores at 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.