Scoring Your Credit
Choosing a lender isn't the first step in becoming a homeowner. In reality, the home buying process starts with your finances. Without a reasonable credit score, buying a house is harder and, you could find yourself renting longer than you expected in Tucumcari until your score improves.
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. Job loss has been common in the last few years, but 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 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?
- Payment History — How many late payments have you made?
- Credit to Debt Ratio — How much do you owe versus your available credit?
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. You have a credit score with all three 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 FICO score gives lenders a view of what type of borrower you'd be 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 less than that, you can still qualify for a loan, but the interest accumulated over time could be more than double that of an individual with a stronger FICO score.
Staying on top of your FICO score is the best way to ease into buying a home. Call us at 575 461-2100 and we 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 rare to make a large-scale change in your credit score with quick fixes, but your score can improve in a year or two by keeping tabs your credit report and by using your credit wisely. The best way to do this is to know your FICO score. You'll improve your credit score by using these pointers:
- 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 at the limit and have the rest of your cards at a zero balance. It's better to have each of your cards at about 20% of their credit limit than to have the most of your debt taking up the balance one card.
- Retail cards and service station cards. For those who have no credit or below average credit, retail credit cards and gas credit cards are ways to begin your credit history, increase your spending limits and keep up your payments, which will raise your FICO score. You should always avoid holding a high balance for too long because these types of cards more than likely 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 to make sure your accounts maintain an active status. But, pay them off in no more than two or three 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 build up your credit with payment history, but it's the surest way to show that you're responsible enough to make payments to a lender.
- Correct your credit report. If you discover 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 give extra care to make sure the activity reported is correct.
Knowing the methods you can use to build up your credit score, you can move toward becoming a homeowner. Keep in mind that when you're ready to apply for a loan to purchase a home, you'll want to keep your applications within a two-week window to avoid damaging your credit score. With the help of McElroy & Associates, the loan application process can be a stress-free experience so you, too, can become a homeowner.
Learn more about FICO scores at myFICO.com, Fair Isaac's informational site and review your credit history for free 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.