Most people assume 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 starts and ends with your finances. Putting back your money for a down payment is great, but if you lack an acceptable credit score to back it up, you could find yourself renting for another couple of years in Phoenix, Arizona until your FICO score is acceptable.
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 the majority of people traditionally having a score of 600. Even though more people these days are experiencing job loss and delinquent credit cards, FICO scores aren't necessarily adjusted "on a curve." A low score is a low score and that often means you can't get credit. Some of the factors in calculating 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 often do you make late payments?
- Credit to Debt Ratio — How much do you owe versus your available credit?
When you pull your credit report, you'll see 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. As a result, you have three scores, one for each scoring model.
When you apply for a mortgage or any other loan, lenders want to make sure that extending a loan to you isn't a risk. Your FICO score gives lenders insight into what type of borrower you'd be solely because of your credit history. You'll need a score of at least 700 to get a satisfactory interest rate. If your score is less than that, you can still qualify for a loan, but the interest accrued over the life of the loan could be more than double the amount of an individual having a stronger credit score.
||We're used to working with all levels of FICO scores. Call us at 623-572-7845 and we can help you get on the right track to the home of your dreams.
How do you obtain a stronger score? Improving your FICO score takes time. At Wise Choice Properties, LLC, we know it's difficult to make a large-scale change in your number with quick fixes, but your score can improve in a few years by keeping tabs your credit report and by using your credit wisely. The most important thing is to know your FICO score. Here are some ways you can improve your credit score:
- 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, make sure you pay them off in no more than two or three payments.
- Keep up with payments. Late payments kill your credit history. It's one of the reasons people who have recently experienced job loss 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 prove that you're responsible enough to make payments to a bank.
- Ensure that your credit history is correct. 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 pay extra attention 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 limit and have the rest of your cards at a zero balance. It's better to have each of your cards at about 25% of their credit limit than to have the most of your debt taking up the balance a single card.
- Store cards and gas cards. For those who have no credit or low credit, department store 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 credit. Simply avoid charging a high balance for more than a couple of months because these types of cards traditionally 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 you're ready to apply for a loan to purchase a house, you'll want to keep your lender applications within a two-week window to avoid damaging your credit score. With the help of Wise Choice Properties, LLC, the loan application process is sure to go more smoothly so you, too, can become a homeowner.
Learn more about FICO scores at www.myFICO.com, Fair Isaac's informational site and review your credit history for free 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 ZIPWORLD REALTY we work with all tiers of credit and can help you settle into home ownership with the right mortgage lender for you. E-mail us at email@example.com or call 623-572-7845 for additional information.