Home buyer's Guide to Better Credit
Choosing a lender isn't the first step in becoming a homeowner. The content of your wallet starts the home buying process. To propel your dreams of homeownership forward, considering your credit score is a must along with the type of mortgage loan for which you'll qualify in Lexington.
A FICO score is a review of your years of credit history based on an instrument developed by Fair Isaac and Company. The score ranges from 300 to 850, with the majority of people traditionally having a score of 600. Job loss has been common in the last few years, but FICO scores aren't necessarily adjusted "on a curve." A low score is a low score and that often means you can't get a decent interest rate. Some of the pieces in summing up your FICO score are:
- 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 your available credit?
- Credit Inquiries — Do you have too many open accounts?
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 models 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 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 risk. Your FICO score gives lenders an insight into what type of borrower you are solely because of your credit history. Because of the shift in the economy, most home buyers should have scores in the range of 700 or higher to get an acceptable interest rate. You can qualify for a mortgage with a lower score, but the interest accrued in the long run could be more than double that of someone with a higher FICO score.
We're used to working with all levels of FICO scores. Call us at (859) 576-1877 and we can help you get on the right track to the home of your dreams.
You want a stronger score, but how do you get it? Building your FICO score takes time. It can be difficult to make a large-scale change in your credit score with small changes, but your score can improve in a year 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. Here are some methods to improve your credit score:
- Apply for gas cards or chain store credit. For those who have no credit or less-than-stellar credit, retail credit cards and gas credit cards are ways to obtain credit, increase your spending limits and have a solid payment history, which will raise your credit. You should always avoid keeping a large balance for too long because these types of cards usually have a steeper interest rate.
- Keep your cards active. Whether you have older cards, or are just getting started with credit, use your cards so that 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. How often you're late with payments greatly affects 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 this way, but it's the most reliable way to show that you're able to make payments to a bank.
- Ensure that your credit history is correct. 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.
- Spread your debt around. At first, this doesn't seem like a good idea. But, you steer clear of having one card that is maxed out and have the rest of your cards at a zero balance. It's better to have each of your cards at a smaller balance than to have the bulk of your debt taking up the balance one card.
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 it's time to apply for a loan to purchase a home, you'll want to keep your applications within a two-week window to avoid a negative mark on your credit score. With the help of Homes & Horse Farms Real Estate, the loan process is sure to go more smoothly so you, too, can achieve home ownership.
To learn more, visit 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.