How's Your FICO?
Choosing a lender isn't the first step in becoming a homeowner. In reality, the home buying process starts with your finances. To make your goal of homeownership realized, you must consider your FICO score along with the type of mortgage loan for which you'll qualify in Englewood, Colorado.
A FICO score is a review 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. Since we've experienced an economic downturn, however, some borrowers have seen their score drop dramatically after job loss, closed credit card accounts, or credit card accounts that were closed because they don't carry a balance. Some of the pieces in summing up your FICO score include:
- Types of Credit — Do you have a healthy mix of credit cards and loans?
- Payment History — Do you pay your bills on time ?
- Credit to Debt Ratio — How much do you owe versus your available credit?
- Credit Inquiries — How many times has your credit history been accessed by someone other than you?
Lenders want to make sure that giving you a loan is a safe move. Your credit score gives lenders a view of what type of borrower you are 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 satisfactory interest rate. You'll still qualify for a mortgage with a lower score, but the interest accrued in the long run could be more than double that of someone having a superior credit score.
Improving your credit is the first step in owning a home. Call us at (303) 843-1545 and we can help you get on the right track to the home of your dreams.
There are ways to increase your score. Improving 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 few years by monitoring 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 pointers:
- Keep your cards in rotation. Whether you're just getting started with credit, or if you've got older cards, use your cards to make sure your accounts stay active. But, be sure to pay them off in one or two payments.
- Pay on time. How often you're late with payments greatly affects your credit score. 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 rebuild your credit with payment history, but it's the surest 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.
- Even out your debt. At first, this doesn't sound like a good idea. But, you want to avoid of having one card that is holding the maximum and have the rest of your cards at a zero balance. It's better to have each of your cards at about 20% of their credit limit than to have the bulk of your debt sitting on a single card.
- Store cards and service station cards. For those who have no credit or below average credit, retail credit cards and gas credit cards are ways to start your credit history, increase your spending limits and stay on top of 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 know more about credit reporting, you'll be able to successfully take the first step in owning a home, and that is improving your FICO score. Remember that when it's time to apply for a loan to purchase a home, 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 Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage, shopping for a mortgage 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.