Home buyer's Guide to Better Credit

Raise your FICO score  to buy a home in Tampa with RE/MAX Bay to Bay as your agent - (813) 259-0000

You might think that the home buying process starts with getting pre-approved by a lender or with choosing a real estate agent. The content of your wallet starts the home buying process. Without an above average FICO score, buying a house is more difficult and, you could find yourself renting longer than you expected in Tampa, Florida until you raise your score.

A FICO score is a review of your years of credit history based on a model developed by Fair Isaac and Company. The score ranges from 300 to 850, with most people traditionally having a score of 650. In recent years, however, some people have seen their score drop by hundreds of points because of unemployment, charged off credit card accounts, or credit card accounts terminated because the card didn't carry a high balance. Some of the pieces in calculating your FICO score are:

  • 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?
  • Credit Inquiries — Do you have too many open accounts?

Lenders want to ensure that giving you a loan isn't a risk for them. Your credit 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 700 or higher to get a decent interest rate. You can qualify for a loan with a lower score, but the interest accumulated in the long run could be more than double that of someone with a better credit score.

We're used to working with all levels of credit scores. Contact us and we can help you get on the right track to the home of your dreams.

You want a stronger score, but how do you get there? Improving your FICO score takes time. It can be hard to make a significant change in your credit score with small changes, but your score can improve in a few years by monitoring your credit report and by using your credit wisely. The most important thing is to know your FICO score. You'll improve your credit score by using these tips:


Raise your FICO score  to buy a house in Tampa with RE/MAX Bay to Bay as your real estate agent - (813) 259-0000
  • Chain store cards and gas cards. For those who have non-existent credit or below average credit, store credit cards and gas credit cards are ways to get credit, increase your spending limits and stay on top of your payments, which will raise your FICO score. You should always avoid keeping a large balance for too long because these types of cards normally have a higher 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 stay active. But, be sure to pay them off in no more than two or three payments.
  • Pay on time. 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 build up your credit this way, but it's the surest way to show that you're able to make payments to a bank.
  • Ensure that your credit history is correct. If you discover 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 sound like a good idea. But, you want to avoid of having one card that is at the maximum and have the rest of your cards at a zero balance. It's better to have each of your cards at a smaller balance than to have all of your debt transferred to one card.

Knowing the methods you can use to build up your credit score, you can move toward becoming a homeowner. Know 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 application process can be a stress-free experience so you, too, can become a homeowner.

To learn more, visit myFICO.com, Fair Isaac's informational site and review your credit history for free 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.