How's Your Credit?
Choosing a lender isn't the first step in becoming a homeowner. The content of your wallet starts the home buying process. To become a homeowner, considering your credit score is a must along with the type of lender for which you'll qualify in Gun Barrel City, Texas.
The Fair Isaac Company calculates your FICO score on the summary of your total credit history. The score ranges from 300 to 850, with most people traditionally having a score of 600. 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 a low score and that often means you can't get credit. Some of the factors in reviewing your FICO score include:
- Credit to Debt Ratio — How much do you owe versus how much credit you have available?
- Credit Inquiries — How many times has your credit history been accessed by someone other than you?
- Types of Credit — Do you have a healthy mix of credit cards and loans?
- Payment History — Do you pay your bills on time every month?
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 models to calculate your credit rating. FICO is used by Experian. Equifax's model is called BEACON and TransUnion uses EMPIRICA. Because of this, you have three scores, one for each scoring model.
Lenders want to make sure that giving you a loan isn't a risk for them. Your credit score gives lenders an insight into what type of borrower you'd be 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 can qualify for a mortgage with a lower score, but the interest accrued in the long run could be more than double the amount of someone having a superior credit score.
Staying on top of your FICO score 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.
You want a stronger score, but how do you get it? Building your FICO score takes time. It can be difficult to make a large-scale change in your credit score with small changes, but your score can improve in a few years by keeping tabs your credit report and by using your credit wisely. The most important thing is to know your FICO score. Here are some methods to improve your credit score:
- Spread your debt around. At first, this doesn't sound like a good idea. But, you steer clear 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 a lower balance than to have the most of your debt sitting on one card.
- Store cards and gas station cards. For those who have no credit or less-than-stellar credit, chain store credit cards and gas credit cards are ways to get credit, increase your spending limits and keep up your payments, which will raise your credit. You must always beware of keeping a high balance for more than a couple of months because these types of cards traditionally have a surprisingly high interest rate.
- Keep your cards in rotation. Whether you're just getting started with credit, or if you've got older cards, be sure to use your cards so that your accounts maintain an active status. But, make sure you pay them off in one or two payments.
- Pay on time. Late payments hurt 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 rebuild your credit with payment history, but it's the most reliable way to prove that you're able to make payments to a lender.
- Correct your credit report. 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.
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. 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 damaging your credit score. With the help of McAtee Realty (Cedar Creek Lake), the loan application process 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 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.