Ways to Raise Your FICO Score for Home Buying
You might think that the home buying process starts with getting pre-approved by a lender or with choosing a real estate agent. In reality, the home buying process begins with your finances. To become a homeowner, you must consider your FICO score along with the type of loan for which you'll qualify in Oakland, California.
A FICO score is a collection of your years of credit history based on a model developed by Fair Isaac and Company. The score ranges from 300 to 850, with most people traditionally having a score of 600. With the change in the economy, however, some people have seen their score drop by hundreds of points as a result of underemployment, closed credit card accounts, or credit card accounts terminated because the card didn't carry a high balance. Some of the pieces in determining your FICO score are:
- Credit to Debt Ratio — How much do you owe versus how much credit you have available?
- 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 credit cards and loans?
- Payment History — How many times do you make late payments?
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 based solely on your credit history. You'll need a score of at least 740 to get a decent interest rate. You'll still qualify for a loan with a lower score, but the interest paid over time could be more than double that of someone with a near perfect FICO score.
Staying on top of your FICO score is the best way to ease into owning a home. Call us at (510) 601-0116 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 difficult to make a significant stride change in your credit score with quick fixes, 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 best way to do this is to know your FICO score. You'll improve your credit score by using these pointers:
- Spread your debt around. At first, this doesn't seem like a good idea. But, you steer clear of having 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 an even balance than to have all of your debt transferred to a single card.
- Retail cards and gas cards. For those who have no credit or below average credit, store credit cards and gas credit cards are ways to establish your credit history, increase your spending limits and have a solid payment history, which will raise your FICO score. You must always beware of holding a high balance for more than a couple of billing cycles because these types of cards normally have a higher interest rate.
- Use your credit. 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.
- 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 hit in their credit score. Yes, it takes longer to restore your credit with payment history, 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 pay extra attention to make sure the activity reported is correct.
Knowing the methods you can use to improve 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 applications within a two-week window to avoid damaging your credit score. With the help of Thomas Chambers Company, shopping for a mortgage is sure to go more smoothly so you, too, can achieve home ownership.
Learn more about FICO scores at www.myFICO.com, Fair Isaac's informational site and you can review all of your credit reports for free each year 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.
We work with all levels of credit history and can help you get back into home ownership with the best lending insitution for you. E-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (510) 601-0116 for more information.