Scoring Your Credit
Choosing a lender isn't the first step in becoming a homeowner. The content 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 St. Petersburg.
The Fair Isaac Company calculates your FICO score on the summary of your complete credit history. The score ranges from 300 to 850, with most people normally having a score of 650. Job loss has been common in the last few years, but FICO scores aren't necessarily adjusted "on a curve." A low score is a low score and that often means you can't get credit extended to you via a mortgage loan. Some of the factors in summing up your FICO score are:
- Payment History — Do you pay your bills on time each month?
- Credit to Debt Ratio — How much do you owe versus your available credit?
- Credit Inquiries — Do you have too many open accounts?
- Types of Credit — Do you have a healthy mix of credit cards and loans?
Lenders want to be positive that allowing you a loan isn't a risk for them. Your FICO 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 700 or higher to get an acceptable interest rate. If your score is lower, you can still qualify for a loan, but the interest paid in the long run could be more than double the amount of an individual having a superior credit score.
We're used to working with all tiers of credit scores. Call us at (727) 458-4969 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 quick fixes, but your score can improve in a year 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 helpful hints:
- Ensure that your credit history is correct. If you find incorrect items 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 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 want to avoid of having one card that is holding the maximum 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 majority of your debt taking up the balance a single card.
- Store cards and gas cards. For those who have non-existent credit or low credit, chain store credit cards and gas credit cards are ways to establish your credit history, increase your credit limits and have a solid payment history, which will raise your credit. You must always avoid charging a large balance for too long because these types of cards usually have a steeper interest rate.
- Keep your cards active. Whether you're just getting started with credit, or if you've got older cards, be sure to use your cards to make sure your accounts stay active. But, pay them off in no more than two or three payments.
- Pay on time. How often you're late with payments greatly affects 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 with payment history, but it's the most reliable way to show that you're able to make payments to a lender.
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. Know that when you're ready to apply for a loan to purchase a house, you'll want to keep your credit inquiries within a two-week window to avoid adverse effects on your credit score. With the help of Florida Real Estate Center, the loan application process can be a stress-free experience so you, too, can achieve home ownership.
Learn more about FICO scores at myFICO.com, Fair Isaac's informational site and once per year, for free, you can review all three of your credit reports 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.