Most people assume 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 starts with your finances. Saving your money for a down payment is a good idea, but if you lack an acceptable credit score to back it up, you could end up renting for another couple of years in Staunton until you build your score.
The Fair Isaac Company calculates your FICO score on the summary of your total credit history. The score ranges from 300 to 850, with the majority of people normally having a score of 650. 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 credit. Some of the factors in determining your FICO score include:
- Types of Credit — Do you have a healthy mix of loans and credit cards?
- 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 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 scoring model.
Lenders want to ensure that giving you a loan isn't a risk for them. Your FICO score gives lenders view of what type of borrower you'd be based solely on your credit history. Because of the shift in the economy, most home buyers should have scores in the range of 740 or higher to get a decent interest rate. You can get approved for a mortgage with a lower score, but the interest paid in the long run could be more than double that of someone with a stronger credit score.
||We're used to working with all tiers of FICO scores. Contact us 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 there? Building your FICO score takes time. At RE/MAX Advantage, we know it's rare to make a significant stride change in your number with small changes, 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. Here are some ways you can improve your credit score:
- 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 an even balance than to have all of your debt transferred to one card.
- Apply for service station cards or department store credit. For those who have no 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 FICO score. Simply avoid holding a high balance for more than a couple of two because these types of cards more than likely have a steeper interest rate.
- Keep your cards in rotation. Whether you're just getting started with credit, or if you've got older cards, use your cards so that your accounts stay active. But, make sure you pay them off in no more than two or three payments.
- Pay on time. Payment history is a big factor in your FICO score. It's one of the reasons people who have recently experienced job loss see the biggest hit in their credit score. Yes, it takes longer to build up your credit with payment history, but it's the surest way to prove that you're able to make payments to a bank.
- 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.
Now that you're better 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. Keep in mind that when you're ready to apply for a loan to purchase a house, you'll want to keep your applications within a two-week window to avoid adverse effects your credit score. With the help of RE/MAX Advantage, the loan process 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.
At RE/MAX Advantage we don't judge you based on your FICO scores and can help you settle into home ownership with the best lending insitution for you. E-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 5408863447 for additional information.