Scoring Your Credit - How's Your Credit Score
Choosing a lender isn't the first step in becoming a homeowner. The content of your wallet starts the home buying process. To propel your dreams of homeownership forward, considering your credit score is a must along with the type of loan for which you'll qualify in Portland.
A FICO score is a collection of your years of credit history based on an instrument developed by Fair Isaac and Company. The score ranges from 300 to 850, with most people normally having a score of 600. In recent years, however, some people have seen their score drop by hundreds of points as a result of unemployment, charged off credit card accounts, or credit card accounts that were closed because they don't carry a balance. Some of the pieces in deciding your FICO score are:
- Payment History — How many late payments have you made?
- 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?
- Types of Credit — Do you have a healthy mix of loans and credit cards?
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 systems to determine your credit rating. FICO is used by Experian. Equifax's model is called BEACON and TransUnion uses EMPIRICA. As a result, you have three scores, one for each bureau.
When you apply for a mortgage or any other loan, lenders want to make sure that extending a loan to you isn't a problem. Your FICO score gives lenders a view of what type of borrower you'll be based solely on your credit history. You'll need a score of at least 740 to get a satisfactory interest rate. You can get approved for a mortgage loan with a lower score, but the interest paid in the long run could be more than double that of an individual with a superior credit score.
Getting your credit in order is the best way to ease into buying a home. Call me at 503-256-1112 and I can help you get on the right track to the home of your dreams.
There are plans to raise your score. Building your FICO score takes time. It can be difficult to make a significant change in your credit score with small changes, but your score can improve in a few years by monitoring 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:
- Don't let your cards get dusty. 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, 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 where people who have recently been unemployed see the biggest hit 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 mistakes 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 at the maximum and have the rest of your cards at a zero balance. It's better to have each of your cards at about less than 40% of their credit limit than to have the bulk of your debt sitting on one card.
- Department store cards and gas cards. For those who have non-existent credit or less-than-stellar credit, store credit cards and gas credit cards are ways to start your credit history, increase your credit limits and keep up your payments, which will raise your credit. You should always avoid maintaining a high balance for more than a couple of billing cycles because these types of cards normally have a surprising interest rate.
Now that you're more 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 you're ready 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 Georgetown Realty, the loan process can be a stress-free experience so you, too, can become a homeowner.
Get more information by visiting 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.