Scoring Your Credit - How's Your Credit Score
Choosing a lender isn't the first step in becoming a homeowner. In reality, the home buying process starts with your finances. To become a homeowner, considering your credit score is a must along with the type of lender for which you'll qualify in North Kingstown.
The Fair Isaac Company bases your FICO score on the summary of your total credit history. Most people usually have a score of 650, but scores range from 300 to 850. In recent years, however, some borrowers have seen their score drop by hundreds of points as a result of job loss, delinquent credit card accounts, or credit card accounts that were closed because they don't carry a balance. Some of the factors in calculating your FICO score are:
- Types of Credit — Do you have a healthy mix of credit cards and loans?
- Payment History — How many late payments have you made?
- Credit to Debt Ratio — How much do you owe versus how much credit you have available?
- Credit Inquiries — Do you have too many open accounts?
In reviewing your credit history, you'll discover that you actually have three reports. Experian, Equifax and TransUnion — three of the major credit reporting agencies — use a slightly different systems to calculate 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 make sure that allowing you a loan is a safe move. Your credit score gives lenders a view of what type of borrower you'd be solely because of your credit history. You'll need a score of at least 740 to get a acceptable interest rate. If your score is less than that, you can still qualify for a loan, but the interest accrued in the long run could be more than double that of someone having a stronger credit score.
Improving your FICO score is the best way to ease into purchasing a home. Call us at 401-932-9005 and we can help you get on the right track to the home of your dreams.
There are ways to boost your score. Building your FICO score takes time. It can be hard to make a large-scale 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 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:
- Retail cards and gas cards. For those who have non-existent credit or low credit, store credit cards and gas credit cards are ways to obtain credit, increase your spending limits and stay on top of your payments, which will raise your FICO score. You should always beware of charging a high balance for more than a couple of billing cycles because these types of cards traditionally have a surprising interest rate.
- Don't let your cards get dusty. 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 one or two payments.
- Stay on top of payments. Late payments hurt your credit history. 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 this way, but it's the most reliable way to show that you're responsible enough to make payments to a bank.
- Correct your credit report. If you find incorrect items 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 pay extra attention to make sure the activity reported is correct.
- Even out your debt. At first, this doesn't sound like a good idea. But, you steer clear of having one card that is holding the maximum and have your remaining cards at a zero balance. It's better to have each of your cards at a lower balance than to have the bulk of your debt taking up the balance one card.
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. Know that when it's time to apply for a loan to purchase a house, you'll want to keep your credit inquiries within a two-week window to avoid adverse effects on your credit score. With the help of Greater R.I. Properties, LLC, 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 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.