Scoring Your Credit - How's Your FICO?
Choosing a lender isn't the first step in becoming a homeowner. The quality of your wallet starts the home buying process. To propel your dreams of homeownership forward, you must consider your FICO score along with the type of mortgage loan for which you'll qualify in Carthage.
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 600, 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 decent interest rate. Some of the pieces in deciding your FICO score include:
- Payment History — How often do you make late payments?
- 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?
When you pull your credit report, you'll discover 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. This means you have three scores, one for each bureau.
Lenders want to ensure that allowing you a loan isn't a risk for them. Your FICO score gives lenders an insight into what type of borrower you are solely because of your credit history. You'll need a score of at least 700 to get a satisfactory interest rate. If your score is less than that, you can still qualify for a loan, but the interest paid in the long run could be more than double the amount of someone having a stronger credit score.
We're used to working with all levels of FICO scores. Contact us and we can help you get on the right track to the home of your dreams.
There are methods to raise your score. Improving your FICO score takes time. It can be rare to make a large-scale change in your number with small changes, but your score can improve in a few years by keeping tabs your credit report and by using credit extended to you to raise your score, instead of ruin it. The most important thing is to know your FICO score. Here are some ways you can improve your credit score:
- Keep your cards in rotation. Whether you're just getting started with credit, or if you've got older cards, be sure to use your cards so that your accounts stay active. But, be sure to pay them off in one or two payments.
- Pay on time. Late payments kill your credit history. It's one of the reasons people who have recently been unemployed see the biggest dip in their credit score. Yes, it takes longer to restore your credit this way, 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, write to 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.
- Even out your debt. At first, this doesn't seem like a good idea. But, you steer clear of having one card that is maxed out and have the rest of your 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 one card.
- Store cards and service station cards. For those who have no credit or below average credit, chain store credit cards and gas credit cards are ways to start your credit history, increase your credit limits and have a solid payment history, which will raise your credit. You must always beware of keeping a high balance for more than a couple of billing cycles because these types of cards traditionally have a surprisingly high interest rate.
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. Know that when you're ready to apply for a loan to purchase a house, you'll want to keep your applications within a two-week window to avoid adverse effects on your credit score. With the help of Charles Burt Homefolks, the loan application process can be a stress-free experience so you, too, can achieve home ownership.
To learn more, visit 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.