How's Your FICO?
Most people assume that the home buying process starts 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 realize your goal of owning a home, you must consider your FICO score along with the type of lender for which you'll qualify in Katy, Texas.
A FICO score is a review 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 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 a low score and that often means you can't get a loan. Some of the factors in determining your FICO score are:
- 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 times do you make late payments?
- Credit to Debt Ratio — How much do you owe versus how much credit you have available?
Lenders want to make sure that allowing you a loan is a safe move. Your FICO score gives lenders an insight into 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. If your score is less than that, you can still qualify for a loan, but the interest paid in the long run could be more than double the amount of an individual having a better FICO score.
We're used to working with all tiers of credit scores. Contact us and we can help you get on the right track to the home of your dreams.
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 change in your FICO score with small changes, but your score can improve in a year or two by keeping tabs 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 helpful hints:
- Stay on top of payments. How often you're late with payments greatly affects your credit score. It's where people who have recently experienced job loss see the biggest dip in their credit score. Yes, it takes longer to restore your credit with payment history, but it's the most reliable way to prove that you're responsible enough to make payments to a lender.
- Correct your credit report. If you discover incorrect items 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.
- Even out your debt. At first, this doesn't sound like a good idea. But, you want to avoid of having one card that is at the limit 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 all of your debt sitting on a single card.
- Apply for gas station cards or retail credit. For those who have no credit or below average credit, department store credit cards and gas credit cards are ways to start your credit history, increase your credit limits and stay on top of your payments, which will raise your credit. You must always avoid holding a high balance for too long because these types of cards traditionally have a steeper interest rate.
- Keep your cards active. Whether you have older cards, or are just getting started with credit, use your cards to make sure your accounts stay active. But, be sure to pay them off in no more than two or three payments.
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 credit inquiries within a two-week window to avoid damaging your credit score. With the help of Jenny S. Becker - Realtor, shopping for a mortgage is sure to go more smoothly so you, too, can achieve home ownership.
Learn more about FICO scores at myFICO.com, Fair Isaac's informational site and you can review all of your credit reports for free each year 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.