Scoring Your Credit - How's Your Credit Score
You might think that the home buying process starts with getting pre-approved for a loan or with choosing a real estate agent. In reality, the home buying process begins and ends with your finances. To propel your dreams of homeownership forward, you must consider your FICO score along with the type of mortgage loan for which you'll qualify in Naples.
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 650, but scores are tiered from 300 to 850. With the change in the economy, however, some people have seen their score drop by hundreds of points because of job loss, charged off credit card accounts, or credit card accounts closed by the lender due to inactivity. Some of the factors in calculating your FICO score are:
- Payment History — Do you pay your bills on time each month?
- 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?
Lenders want to be positive that giving you a loan isn't a risk for them. Your FICO score gives lenders an insight into what type of borrower you'd be based solely on your credit history. You'll need a score of at least 700 to get a decent interest rate. If your score is less than that, you can still qualify for a loan, but the interest paid over time could be more than double that of an individual with a higher FICO score.
Staying on top of your FICO score is the first step in owning a home. Contact us 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. It can be difficult to make a significant stride change in your credit score with small changes, but your score can improve in a year or two by monitoring 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. Here are some methods to improve your credit score:
- Use your credit. Whether you're just getting started with credit, or if you've got older cards, use your cards so that your accounts maintain an active status. But, pay them off in no more than two or three payments.
- Stay on top of payments. Payment history is a big factor in your FICO score. It's one of the reasons people who have recently experienced job loss see the biggest dip in their credit score. Yes, it takes longer to rebuild your credit this way, 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 incorrect items on your credit report, write to 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.
- Spread your debt around. At first, this doesn't seem like a good idea. But, you don't want to have one card that is at the maximum and have your remaining cards at a zero balance. It's better to have each of your cards at a smaller balance than to have the most of your debt transferred to a single card.
- Apply for service station cards or chain store 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 have a solid payment history, which will raise your FICO score. You must always beware of maintaining a large balance for too long because these types of cards normally have a steeper interest rate.
Now that you know more about credit reporting, you'll be able to successfully take the first step in owning a home, and that is improving your FICO score. Remember that when it's time 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 Metro Properties, shopping for a mortgage can be a stress-free experience so you, too, can achieve home ownership.
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.