First-Time Buyer's Guide to Better Credit
Choosing a lender isn't the first step in becoming a homeowner. The quality of your wallet starts the home buying process. To realize your goal of owning a home, considering your credit score is a must along with the type of loan for which you'll qualify in Delray Beach.
The Fair Isaac Company bases your FICO score on the summary of your complete credit history. Most people traditionally have a score of 650, but scores range 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 factors in summing up your FICO score are:
- 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 loans and credit cards?
- Payment History — How many late payments have you made?
In reviewing your credit history, you'll see that you actually have three reports. Experian, Equifax and TransUnion — three of the major credit reporting agencies — use a slightly different systems to determine your credit rating. FICO is used by Experian. Equifax's model is called BEACON and TransUnion uses EMPIRICA. You have a credit score with each of the bureaus.
Lenders want to make sure that allowing you a loan isn't a risk for them. Your credit score gives lenders an insight into what type of borrower you are solely because of 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 a satisfactory interest rate. If your score is lower, you can still qualify for a loan, but the interest accrued over the life of the loan could be more than double the amount of an individual with a near perfect FICO score.
Improving your FICO is the best way to ease into owning a home. Contact us and we can help you get on the right track to the home of your dreams.
There are methods to increase your score. Building your FICO score takes time. It can be hard to make a significant change in your number with quick fixes, but your score can improve in a few years by monitoring 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:
- Stay on top of payments. How often you're late with payments greatly affects your credit score. It's one of the reasons people who have recently experienced job loss see the biggest dip 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 responsible enough to make payments to a lender.
- 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.
- 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 maxed out and have your remaining cards at a zero balance. It's better to have each of your cards at a smaller balance than to have the bulk of your debt taking up the balance a single card.
- Apply for gas cards or department store credit. For those who have non-existent credit or low credit, store credit cards and gas credit cards are ways to establish your credit history, increase your spending limits and keep up your payments, which will raise your credit. You must always avoid maintaining a large balance for too long because these types of cards normally have a surprisingly high interest rate.
- Keep your cards active. Whether you have older cards, or are just getting started with credit, use your cards so that your accounts stay active. But, pay them off in no more than two or three payments.
Knowing the methods you can use to build up your credit score, you're one step closer to becoming a homeowner. Keep in mind 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 a negative mark on your credit score. With the help of Illustrated Properties, the loan application process is sure to go more smoothly so you, too, can become a homeowner.
To learn more, visit 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.