Scoring Your FICO
Choosing a lender isn't the first step in becoming a homeowner. The content of your wallet starts the home buying process. Saving your money for a down payment is a good idea, but if you lack a strong credit score to back it up, you could find yourself renting for another couple of years in Diamond Bar until your score improves.
The Fair Isaac Company calculates your FICO score on the summary of your total credit history. Most people usually have a score of 600, but scores range from 300 to 850. With the change in the economy, however, some borrowers have seen their score drop dramatically after loss of employment, closed credit card accounts, or credit card accounts closed by the lender due to inactivity. Some of the pieces in reviewing your FICO score include:
- 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 credit cards and loans?
- Payment History — Do you pay your bills on time ?
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. 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 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 decent interest rate. You'll still qualify for a mortgage with a lower score, but the interest paid over time could be more than double that of someone with a better FICO score.
Staying on top of your FICO score is the first step in owning a home. Call us at 6262410395 and we can help you get on the right track to the home of your dreams.
You want an improved score, but how do you get it? Improving your FICO score takes time. It can be hard to make a significant stride change in your FICO score with small changes, but your score can improve in a year or two by monitoring your credit report and by using your credit wisely. The most important thing is to know your FICO score. You'll improve your credit score by using these pointers:
- Apply for gas cards or retail credit. For those who have no credit or below average credit, chain store credit cards and gas credit cards are ways to repair credit, increase your credit limits and keep up your payments, which will raise your FICO score. You should always avoid charging a high balance for too long because these types of cards usually have a surprisingly high interest rate.
- Keep your cards in rotation. Whether you have older cards, or are just getting started with credit, be sure to use your cards to make sure your accounts stay active. But, be sure to pay them off in one or two payments.
- Pay on time. Delinquent payments drastically lower 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 with payment history, but it's the surest way to show that you're able to make payments to a lender.
- Ensure that your credit history is correct. If you discover mistakes on your credit report, write to 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 give extra care to make sure the activity reported is correct.
- Even out your debt. At first, this doesn't seem like a good idea. But, you steer clear of having one card that is at the limit and have the rest of your cards at a zero balance. It's better to have each of your cards at an even balance than to have the bulk of your debt transferred to one card.
Now that you're more informed about credit reporting, you'll be able to successfully take the first step in owning a home, 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 adverse effects on your credit score. With the help of Allstar Brokers Network, the loan 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.