How's Your FICO?
Choosing a lender isn't the first step in becoming a homeowner. The quality of your wallet begins the home buying process. To realize your goal of owning a home, considering your credit score is a must along with the type of lender for which you'll qualify in Fort Walton Beach, Florida.
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 the majority of people traditionally having a score of 650. In recent years, however, some borrowers have seen their score drop by hundreds of points after underemployment, closed credit card accounts, or credit card accounts closed by the lender due to inactivity. Some of the pieces in deciding your FICO score are:
- 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 — How many times has your credit history been accessed by someone other than you?
When you pull your credit report, you'll find 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. Because of this, you have three scores, one for each scoring model.
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 credit 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 740 to get a decent interest rate. You'll still get approved for a mortgage with a lower score, but the interest paid over time could be more than double the amount of someone with a superior FICO score.
Getting your credit in order is the best way to ease into purchasing a home. Contact us and we can help you get on the right track to the home of your dreams.
There are strategies to raise your score. Improving your FICO score takes time. It can be rare to make a significant change in your credit score with small changes, but your score can improve in a year or two by monitoring 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 tips:
- Even out your debt. At first, this doesn't seem like a good idea. But, you want to avoid of having one card that is at the maximum and have the rest of your cards at a zero balance. It's better to have each of your cards at about less than 40% of their credit limit than to have all of your debt taking up the balance one card.
- Apply for gas cards or chain store credit. For those who have non-existent credit or low credit, department store credit cards and gas credit cards are ways to improve credit, increase your credit limits and stay on top of your payments, which will raise your FICO score. You should always beware of holding a high balance for too long because these types of cards more than likely have a surprisingly high interest rate.
- Don't let your cards get dusty. Whether you're just getting started with credit, or if you've got older cards, use your cards to make sure your accounts stay active. But, make sure you pay them off in no more than two or three payments.
- 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 build up your credit this way, but it's the surest way to show that you're responsible enough to make payments to a bank.
- Correct your credit report. If you find incorrect items on your credit report, write to 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.
Now that you know more about credit reporting, you'll be able to successfully take the first steps to homeownership, and that is improving your FICO score. Know that when it's time to apply for a loan to purchase a house, 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 Coast to Coast Property Brokers, the loan application process 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 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.