Scoring Your Credit
Choosing a lender isn't the first step in becoming a homeowner. In reality, the home buying process begins and ends with your finances. 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 Oklahoma City.
The Fair Isaac Company calculates your FICO score on the summary of your complete credit history. Most people traditionally have a score of 650, but scores range from 300 to 850. In recent years, however, some borrowers have seen their score lowered because of job loss, closed credit card accounts, or credit card accounts terminated because the card didn't carry a high balance. Some of the pieces in determining your FICO score are:
- 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 — Do you have too many open accounts?
When you pull your credit report, you'll see that you actually have three reports. Experian, Equifax and TransUnion — three of the major credit reporting agencies — use a slightly different models to determine your credit rating. FICO is used by Experian. Equifax's model is called BEACON and TransUnion uses EMPIRICA. You have a credit score with all of the bureaus.
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 an insight into what type of borrower you'll 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. You'll still get approved for a mortgage with a lower score, but the interest accrued over time could be more than double the amount of someone with a higher FICO score.
Staying on top of your FICO score is the best way to ease into buying a home. Call us at (405) 509-5335 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 or two by keeping tabs your credit report and by wisely using credit. The most important thing is to know your FICO score. You'll improve your credit score by using these tips:
- 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 stay active. But, be sure to pay them off in no more than two or three payments.
- Stay on top of payments. Late payments hurt 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 build up your credit this way, but it's the most reliable way to prove that you're responsible enough to make payments to a lender.
- Ensure that your credit history is correct. If you find mistakes 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 don't want to have one card that is at the limit and have your remaining cards at a zero balance. It's better to have each of your cards at a lower balance than to have all of your debt sitting on one card.
- Retail cards and gas station cards. For those who have no credit or below average credit, retail credit cards and gas credit cards are ways to establish your credit history, increase your credit limits and keep up your payments, which will raise your FICO score. You must always avoid keeping a high balance for too long because these types of cards traditionally have a surprising interest rate.
Now that you're better informed 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 home, 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 The Virtual Real Estate Team, shopping for a mortgage is sure to go more smoothly so you, too, can become a homeowner.
Get more information by visiting 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.