Tips on Increasing Your FICO Score for Home Buying
Choosing a lender isn't the first step in becoming a homeowner. The content of your wallet starts the home buying process. To make your goal of homeownership realized, considering your credit score is a must along with the type of lender for which you'll qualify in Mission Viejo.
The Fair Isaac Company bases your FICO score on the summary of your complete credit history. Most people usually have a score of 600, but scores range from 300 to 850. Since we've experienced an economic downturn, however, some people have seen their score drop dramatically as a result of job loss, closed credit card accounts, or credit card accounts closed by the lender due to inactivity. Some of the pieces in reviewing your FICO score include:
- 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 often do you make late payments?
Lenders want to ensure that allowing you a loan is a safe move. Your credit score gives lenders a 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 700 or higher to get a decent interest rate. If your score is lower, you can still qualify for a loan, but the interest paid over time could be more than double that of someone with a stronger FICO 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.
There are plans to raise your score. Building your FICO score takes time. It can be rare to make a significant stride change in your FICO score with quick fixes, but your score can improve in a year or two by monitoring your credit report and by using your credit wisely. The best way to do this is to know your FICO score. You'll improve your credit score by using these helpful hints:
- Don't let your cards get dusty. Whether you have older cards, or are just getting started with credit, use your cards to make sure 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. Delinquent payments drastically drop 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 build up your credit with payment history, but it's the most reliable 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, contact 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.
- Spread your debt around. At first, this doesn't sound 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 a smaller balance than to have the most of your debt sitting on a single card.
- Department store cards and gas station cards. For those who have non-existent credit or low credit, department store credit cards and gas credit cards are ways to begin your credit history, increase your spending limits and stay on top of your payments, which will raise your FICO score. You must always avoid keeping a large balance for too long because these types of cards more than likely have a surprising interest rate.
Knowing the ways you can raise your FICO score, you're one step closer to becoming a homeowner. Know 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 The Alden Team, shopping for a mortgage can be a stress-free experience 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.