How's Your Credit?
You might think that the home buying process starts with getting pre-approved by a lender or with choosing a real estate agent. In reality, the home buying process begins with your finances. To become a homeowner, considering your credit score is a must along with the type of mortgage loan for which you'll qualify in Delray Beach, Florida.
A FICO score is a review of your years of credit history based on a model developed by Fair Isaac and Company. Most people usually have a score of 600, but scores are tiered from 300 to 850. With the change in the economy, however, some borrowers have seen their score drop dramatically as a result of unemployment, delinquent credit card accounts, or credit card accounts closed by the lender due to inactivity. Some of the factors in reviewing 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 credit cards and loans?
- Payment History — How many months do you make late payments?
- Credit to Debt Ratio — How much do you owe versus how much credit you have available?
In reviewing your credit history, you'll see 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. This means you have three scores, one for each scoring model.
Lenders want to ensure that allowing 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. If your score is lower, you can still qualify for a loan, but the interest paid in the long run could be more than double that of an individual with a better FICO score.
Staying on top of your FICO score is the best way to ease into buying a home. Call us at 561-929-5799 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 difficult to make a significant stride change in your FICO 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 best way to do this is to know your FICO score. Here are some methods to improve your credit score:
- Keep your cards in rotation. Whether you have older cards, or are just getting started with credit, use your cards to make sure your accounts stay active. But, make sure you pay them off in no more than two or three payments.
- Pay on time. Delinquent payments instantly drop your credit score. It's one of the reasons 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 surest way to prove that you're able to make payments to a bank.
- 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 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 don't want to have one card that is maxed out and have the rest of your cards at a zero balance. It's better to have each of your cards at a smaller balance than to have the bulk of your debt transferred to one card.
- Store cards and service station cards. For those who have no credit or below average credit, department store credit cards and gas credit cards are ways to improve credit, increase your spending limits and keep up your payments, which will raise your credit. You must always beware of holding a high balance for more than a couple of billing cycles because these types of cards more than likely have a surprisingly high interest rate.
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 home, you'll want to keep your lender applications within a two-week window to avoid damaging your credit score. With the help of Silver International Realty, Inc., 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.