FICO - The First Step to Owning
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 begins with your finances. To realize your goal of owning a home, considering your credit score is a must along with the type of mortgage loan for which you'll qualify in Punta Gorda, Florida.
The Fair Isaac Company bases your FICO score on the summary of your complete credit history. Most people usually have a score of 600, but scores are tiered from 300 to 850. With the change in the economy, however, some people have seen their score lowered after loss of employment, delinquent credit card accounts, or credit card accounts that were closed because they don't carry a balance. Some of the factors in summing up your FICO score are:
- Credit to Debt Ratio — How much do you owe versus how much credit you have available?
- 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 — Do you pay your bills on time each month?
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 are solely because of 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 an acceptable interest rate. You can get approved for a mortgage loan with a lower score, but the interest accrued over the life of the loan could be more than double the amount of someone having a superior credit score.
Getting your credit in order is the first step in buying a home. Call me at (941) 764-7585 and I can help you get on the right track to the home of your dreams.
There are strategies to improve your score. Building your FICO score takes time. It can be difficult to make a large-scale change in your number with small changes, but your score can improve in a few years 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 helpful hints:
- 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 give extra care to make sure the activity reported is correct.
- Spread your debt around. At first, this doesn't sound like a good idea. But, you steer clear of having one card that is at the limit and have your remaining cards at a zero balance. It's better to have each of your cards at an even balance than to have all of your debt transferred to one card.
- Apply for gas station cards or department store credit. For those who have no credit or less-than-stellar credit, chain store credit cards and gas credit cards are ways to establish your credit history, increase your spending limits and stay on top of your payments, which will raise your FICO score. You should always beware of holding a large balance for too long because these types of cards normally have a surprising interest rate.
- Use your credit. Whether you're just getting started with credit, or if you've got older cards, be sure to 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. Your credit score plummets with each account that goes to collections. 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 restore your credit with payment history, but it's the most reliable way to show that you're able to make payments to a lender.
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 credit inquiries within a two-week window to avoid adverse effects on your credit score. With the help of RE/MAX Harbor Realty, the loan process is sure to go more smoothly so you, too, can achieve home ownership.
Learn more about FICO scores at www.myFICO.com, Fair Isaac's informational site and once per year, for free, you can review all three of your credit reports 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.
I won't judge you based on your credit history and can help you settle into home ownership with the best mortgage lender for you. E-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (941) 764-7585 for more information.