FICO - The First Step to Owning
Choosing a lender isn't the first step in becoming a homeowner. In reality, the home buying process starts 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 mortgage loan for which you'll qualify in Columbus.
The Fair Isaac Company bases your FICO score on the summary of your total credit history. The score ranges from 300 to 850, with the majority of people traditionally having a score of 650. 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 pieces in deciding your FICO score are:
- 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?
- Types of Credit — Do you have a healthy mix of credit cards and loans?
- Payment History — How many late payments have you made?
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. You'll need a score of at least 740 to get a acceptable interest rate. You can get approved for a mortgage loan with a lower score, but the interest accrued over time could be more than double that of someone with a higher FICO score.
We're used to working with all tiers of FICO scores. Call us at 614-285-6683 and we can help you get on the right track to the home of your dreams.
There are methods to boost your score. Building your FICO score takes time. It can be hard to make a significant stride change in your number with small changes, but your score can improve in a year or two 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:
- Keep your cards active. Whether you have older cards, or are just getting started with credit, be sure to use your cards so that your accounts maintain an active status. But, be sure to pay them off in no more than two or three payments.
- Keep up with payments. Late payments kill your credit score. It's where people who have recently been unemployed 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 show that you're able to make payments to a bank.
- Correct your credit report. If you discover mistakes 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 give extra care 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 limit 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 majority of your debt sitting on a single card.
- Apply for gas station cards or store credit. For those who have non-existent credit or less-than-stellar credit, department store credit cards and gas credit cards are ways to establish your credit history, increase your spending limits and have a solid payment history, which will raise your FICO score. You should always avoid maintaining a large balance for too long because these types of cards more than likely have a higher interest rate.
Knowing the methods you can use to build up your credit score, you're one step closer to becoming a homeowner. Know 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 a negative mark on your credit score. With the help of SMART MOVE, REALTORS, the loan application process 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 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.