Scoring Your FICO
Choosing a lender isn't the first step in becoming a homeowner. The quality of your wallet starts the home buying process. To realize your goal of owning a home, considering your credit score is a must along with the type of lender for which you'll qualify in Tampa, Florida.
The Fair Isaac Company bases your FICO score on the summary of your complete credit history. Most people traditionally have a score of 650, but scores are tiered from 300 to 850. 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 just that and often means you can't get a loan. Some of the pieces in determining your FICO score include:
- 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 credit cards and loans?
- Payment History — How many late payments have you made?
When you pull your credit report, you'll find 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. You have a credit score with each of the bureaus.
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. 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. You can qualify for a loan with a lower score, but the interest paid over time could be more than double the amount of someone having a superior credit score.
Getting your credit in order is the first step in owning a home. Call us at (813) 259-0000 and we can help you get on the right track to the home of your dreams.
There are ways to improve your score. Building your FICO score takes time. It can be difficult to make a large-scale change in your credit score with small changes, but your score can improve in a few years by keeping tabs your credit report and by wisely using credit. The best way to do this is to know your FICO score. You'll improve your credit score by using these pointers:
- Spread your debt around. At first, this doesn't seem like a good idea. But, you want to avoid of having 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 an even balance than to have all of your debt taking up the balance a single card.
- Apply for service station cards or retail credit. For those who have non-existent credit or below average credit, retail credit cards and gas credit cards are ways to start your credit history, increase your credit limits and stay on top of your payments, which will raise your credit. You should always beware of charging a high balance for too long because these types of cards traditionally 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 to make sure your accounts maintain an active status. But, pay them off in one or two payments.
- Stay on top of payments. How often you're late with payments greatly affects 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 build up your credit with payment history, but it's the most reliable way to prove that you're able to make payments to a bank.
- Ensure that your credit history is correct. If you find mistakes on your credit report, write to 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.
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 you're ready to apply for a loan to purchase a house, you'll want to keep your credit inquiries within a two-week window to avoid a negative mark on your credit score. With the help of RE/MAX Bay to Bay, the loan process is sure to go more smoothly so you, too, can become a homeowner.
Learn more about FICO scores at 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.