Scoring Your FICO
You might think 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 and ends with your finances. To become a homeowner, you must consider your FICO score along with the type of loan for which you'll qualify in West Palm Beach, Florida.
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 a low score and that often means you can't get credit. Some of the pieces in reviewing your FICO score include:
- 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 late payments have you made?
- Credit to Debt Ratio — How much do you owe versus your available credit?
Lenders want to ensure that giving you a loan isn't a risk for them. Your credit 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 700 or higher to get a satisfactory interest rate. If your score is lower, you can still qualify for a loan, but the interest accrued in the long run could be more than double the amount of someone with a stronger FICO score.
Improving your credit is the first step in owning a home. Call us at 561-688-1316 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? Improving your FICO score takes time. It can be difficult to make a large-scale change in your FICO score with quick fixes, 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. You'll improve your credit score by using these tips:
- Apply for service station cards or retail credit. For those who have non-existent credit or below average credit, department store credit cards and gas credit cards are ways to repair credit, increase your credit limits and have a solid payment history, which will raise your credit. You should always beware of keeping a large balance for too long because these types of cards normally have a higher interest rate.
- Keep your cards in rotation. Whether you have older cards, or are just getting started with credit, be sure to use your cards to make sure your accounts maintain an active status. But, be sure to pay them off in no more than two or three payments.
- Pay on time. Late payments kill your credit score. It's where people who have recently experienced job loss see the biggest hit in their credit score. Yes, it takes longer to rebuild your credit this way, but it's the most reliable way to prove 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 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 seem like a good idea. But, you steer clear of having one card that is at the maximum and have your remaining 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 the bulk of your debt taking up the balance a single card.
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. Remember that when you're ready 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 J. Briann Realty Group, Inc., the loan application process is sure to go more smoothly so you, too, can become a homeowner.
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.