How's Your FICO?
The road to home ownership doesn't start with getting pre-approved by a lender or with choosing a real estate agent. The quality of your wallet begins the home buying process. To make your goal of homeownership realized, considering your credit score is a must along with the type of loan for which you'll qualify in Pacific Grove.
A FICO score is a review of your years of credit history based on a model developed by Fair Isaac and Company. Most people usually have a score of 650, but scores are tiered from 300 to 850. In recent years, however, some people have seen their score drop dramatically because of unemployment, charged off credit card accounts, or credit card accounts closed by the lender due to inactivity. Some of the pieces in calculating your FICO score are:
- Credit Inquiries — Do you have too many open accounts?
- Types of Credit — Do you have a healthy mix of loans and credit cards?
- Payment History — Do you pay your bills on time ?
- Credit to Debt Ratio — How much do you owe versus how much credit you have available?
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. As a result, you have three scores, one for each bureau.
When you apply for a mortgage or any other loan, lenders want to make sure that extending a loan to you isn't a problem. Your credit 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 decent interest rate. If your score is lower, you can still qualify for a loan, but the interest paid over time could be more than double the amount of an individual having a near perfect FICO score.
We're used to working with all tiers of credit scores. Contact us and we can help you get on the right track to the home of your dreams.
There are ways to raise your score. Improving your FICO score takes time. It can be difficult to make a significant change in your FICO score with small changes, but your score can improve in a year or two by keeping tabs your credit report and by using credit extended to you to raise your score, instead of ruin it. The best way to do this is to know your FICO score. You'll improve your credit score by using these tips:
- Keep up with payments. Your FICO score plummets with each account that goes to collections. 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 with payment history, but it's the surest way to prove that you're able to make payments to a lender.
- Correct your credit report. If you discover 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.
- Even out your debt. 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 your remaining cards at a zero balance. It's better to have each of your cards at about 30% of their credit limit than to have the bulk of your debt taking up the balance a single card.
- Chain store cards and service station cards. For those who have non-existent credit or below average credit, chain store credit cards and gas credit cards are ways to repair credit, increase your credit limits and stay on top of your payments, which will raise your FICO score. You must always beware of charging a high balance for too long because these types of cards traditionally have a steeper interest rate.
- 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 maintain an active status. But, make sure you pay them off in one or two payments.
Knowing the ways you can improve your credit score, you can move toward becoming a homeowner. Keep in mind that when it's time to apply for a loan to purchase a house, you'll want to keep your credit inquiries within a two-week window to avoid a negative mark on your credit score. With the help of Sothebys International Realty, the loan application process is sure to go more smoothly so you, too, can achieve home ownership.
To learn more, visit 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.