How's Your Score?
Choosing a lender isn't the first step in becoming a homeowner. In reality, the home buying process begins with your finances.
Putting back your money for a down payment is a good idea, but if you don't have an acceptable credit score to back it up, you could find yourself renting for another couple of years in County until you improve your score.
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 650. Since we've experienced an economic downturn, however, some borrowers have seen their score drop by hundreds of points after underemployment, charged off credit card accounts, or credit card accounts terminated because the card didn't carry a high balance. Some of the factors in determining your FICO score include:
- Payment History — Do you pay your bills on time ?
- 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?
In reviewing your credit history, you'll discover 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.
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 credit score gives lenders insight into what type of borrower you'd be based solely on your credit history. You'll need a score of at least 740 to get a acceptable 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 an individual with a higher FICO score.
||Getting your credit in order is the first step in owning a home. Call us at (305)382-3105 and we can help you get on the right track to the home of your dreams.
You want a better score, but how do you get there? Improving your FICO score takes time. At Barreiro's Realty Services, inc., we know it's difficult to make a significant 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 credit extended to you to raise your score, instead of ruin it. The most important thing is to know your FICO score. You'll improve your credit score by using these tips:
- Even out your debt. At first, this doesn't sound like a good idea. But, you don't want to have 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 about less than 40% of their credit limit than to have all of your debt taking up the balance one card.
- Apply for gas cards or chain store credit. For those who have non-existent credit or less-than-stellar credit, chain store credit cards and gas credit cards are ways to repair credit, increase your credit limits and stay on top of your payments, which will raise your FICO score. Just beware of holding a too-high balance for more than a couple of two because these types of cards normally have a higher interest rate.
- 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, 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 restore your credit this way, but it's the most reliable way to prove that you're responsible enough to make payments to a lender.
- Correct your credit report. If you find incorrect items on your credit report, contact the bureau asking that the item be removed. If you have a common name or the same name as a family member, you'll want to give extra care to make sure the activity reported is correct.
Knowing the methods you can use raise your credit score, you're one step closer to becoming a homeowner. Remember that when you're ready to apply for a loan to purchase a home, you'll want to keep your lender applications within a two-week window to avoid adverse effects your credit score. With the help of Barreiro's Realty Services, inc., shopping for a mortgage can be a stress-free experience so you, too, can achieve home ownership.
Get more information by visiting 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.
At BRS Realtors, we work with all tiers of credit history and can help you step into home ownership with the best lender for you. E-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (786)456-3668 for more information.