Increasing Your FICO Score for Home Ownership
The road to home ownership doesn't start with getting pre-approved by a lender or with choosing a real estate agent. In reality, the home buying process begins with your finances. Saving your money for a down payment is a good idea, but if you lack an acceptable credit score to reinforce it, you could end up renting longer than you expected in Venice, Florida until your FICO score is acceptable.
A FICO score is a collection of your years of credit history based on a model developed by Fair Isaac and Company. Most people traditionally have a score of 650, but scores are tiered from 300 to 850. Even though more people these days are experiencing job loss and delinquent credit cards, FICO scores aren't necessarily adjusted "on a curve." A low score is just that and often means you can't get a loan. Some of the factors in deciding your FICO score include:
- Types of Credit — Do you have a healthy mix of credit cards and loans?
- Payment History — How many late payments have you made?
- 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?
In reviewing your credit history, 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 calculate your credit rating. FICO is used by Experian. Equifax's model is called BEACON and TransUnion uses EMPIRICA. This means 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 FICO score gives lenders a view of what type of borrower you'd be solely because of 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 satisfactory interest rate. If your score is lower, you can still qualify for a loan, but the interest paid over the life of the loan could be more than double the amount of someone with a higher FICO score.
Improving your credit 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.
How do you boost your credit score? Building 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 by keeping tabs your credit report and by using your credit wisely. The best way to do this is to know your FICO score. Here are some methods to improve your credit score:
- Use your credit. 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 one or two payments.
- Stay on top of 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 rebuild your credit this way, but it's the surest way to show that you're responsible enough to make payments to a bank.
- Ensure that your credit history is correct. If you find 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 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 don't want to have 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 the majority of your debt taking up the balance one card.
- Store cards and gas cards. For those who have non-existent credit or low credit, retail credit cards and gas credit cards are ways to repair credit, increase your spending limits and have a solid payment history, which will raise your credit. You must always avoid keeping a high balance for too long because these types of cards normally have a surprisingly high interest rate.
Now that you're more 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 home, you'll want to keep your lender applications within a two-week window to avoid adverse effects on your credit score. With the help of Venice Hometown Realty, LLC, shopping for a mortgage can be a stress-free experience so you, too, can achieve home ownership.
Get more information by visiting 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.