Raising Your FICO Score for Home buyers
You might think that the home buying process starts with getting pre-approved for a loan or with choosing a real estate agent. In reality, the home buying process begins and ends with your finances. To make your goal of homeownership realized, you must consider your FICO score along with the type of lender for which you'll qualify in Saratoga Springs, New York.
A FICO score is a review of your years of credit history based on an instrument developed by Fair Isaac and Company. Most people traditionally have a score of 600, but scores are tiered from 300 to 850. In recent years, however, some people have seen their score lowered after loss of employment, closed credit card accounts, or credit card accounts terminated because the card didn't carry a high balance. Some of the factors in calculating your FICO score are:
- Types of Credit — Do you have a healthy mix of loans and credit cards?
- Payment History — Do you pay your bills on time ?
- 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?
In reviewing your credit history, you'll discover that you actually have three reports. Experian, Equifax and TransUnion — three of the major credit reporting agencies — use a slightly different systems to calculate your credit rating. FICO is used by Experian. Equifax's model is called BEACON and TransUnion uses EMPIRICA. You have a credit score with each of the bureaus.
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 a view of 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 satisfactory interest rate. You can qualify for a mortgage loan with a lower score, but the interest paid over time could be more than double that of someone with a near perfect credit score.
We're used to working with all tiers of credit history. Call us at (518) 691-0669 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? Improving your FICO score takes time. It can be difficult to make a large-scale change in your credit score with quick fixes, but your score can improve in a few years by monitoring your credit report and by wisely using credit. The most important thing is to know your FICO score. You'll improve your credit score by using these tips:
- 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 give extra care to make sure the activity reported is correct.
- Spread your debt around. At first, this doesn't sound like a good idea. But, you don't want to have one card that is at the maximum and have your remaining cards at a zero balance. It's better to have each of your cards at about 30% of their credit limit than to have all of your debt transferred to a single card.
- 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 credit limits and have a solid payment history, which will raise your FICO score. You must always beware of holding a large balance for too long because these types of cards traditionally have a higher interest rate.
- Use your credit. Whether you're just getting started with credit, or if you've got older cards, use your cards so that your accounts maintain an active status. But, make sure you pay them off in no more than two or three payments.
- Stay on top of payments. Late payments kill your credit score. It's where people who have recently experienced job loss see the biggest hit in their credit score. Yes, it takes longer to restore your credit this way, but it's the most reliable way to prove that you're responsible enough to make payments to a bank.
Knowing the methods you can use to improve your FICO score, you can move toward becoming a homeowner. Keep in mind that when you're ready 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 High Rock Realty, Inc., shopping for a mortgage can be a stress-free experience so you, too, can become a homeowner.
To learn more, visit 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.