How's Your FICO?
Choosing a lender isn't the first step in becoming a homeowner. The quality of your wallet begins the home buying process. 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 Oklahoma County.
A FICO score is a collection of your years of credit history based on a model developed by Fair Isaac and Company. The score ranges from 300 to 850, with most people traditionally having a score of 600. Job loss has been common in the last few years, but 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 calculating your FICO score include:
- 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?
Lenders want to ensure that allowing you a loan isn't a risk for them. Your credit score gives lenders an insight into what type of borrower you'd be solely because of your credit history. You'll need a score of at least 700 to get a acceptable interest rate. You'll still qualify for a loan with a lower score, but the interest accrued over time could be more than double the amount of an individual having a stronger FICO score.
Staying on top of your FICO score is the best way to ease into purchasing a home. Contact me
and I can help you get on the right track to the home of your dreams.
You want a higher score, but how do you get it? Improving your FICO score takes time. It can be rare to make a significant stride change in your number with quick fixes, but your score can improve in a few years by monitoring your credit report and by wisely using credit. The most important thing is to know your FICO score. Here are some methods to improve your credit score:
- Ensure that your credit history is correct. If you discover 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 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 a smaller balance 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 below average credit, department store credit cards and gas credit cards are ways to improve credit, increase your credit limits and keep up your payments, which will raise your FICO score. You must always avoid carrying a high 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 maintain an active status. But, pay them off in no more than two or three payments.
- Keep up with payments. How often you're late with payments greatly affects your credit score. It's where people who have recently been unemployed see the biggest dip in their credit score. Yes, it takes longer to rebuild your credit this way, but it's the surest way to show that you're responsible enough to make payments to a lender.
Now that you're better informed 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 it's time to apply for a loan to purchase a house, 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 Elaine Byrne Realty, shopping for a mortgage can be a stress-free experience so you, too, can achieve home ownership.
Learn more about FICO scores at www.myFICO.com, Fair Isaac's informational site and once per year, for free, you can review all three of your credit reports at www.annualcreditreport.com. And, for a small payment, you can get your FICO score from each bureau on their websites: www.equifax.com, www.experian.com and www.transunion.com.
I won't judge you based on your FICO scores and can help you step into home ownership with the right lender for you. E-mail me at Elaine_Byrne@yahoo.com or call (512) 422-8088 for additional information.