Scoring Your Credit - How's Your Credit Score

Raise your FICO score  to buy a property in Huntsville with Landa Pennington as your real estate agent - (256) 656-4741

You might think 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. To propel your dreams of homeownership forward, considering your credit score is a must along with the type of loan for which you'll qualify in Huntsville.

A FICO score is a collection of your years of credit history based on a model developed by Fair Isaac and Company. Most people traditionally have a score of 650, but scores range from 300 to 850. Job loss has been common in the last few years, but FICO scores aren't necessarily adjusted "on a curve." A low score is a low score and that often means you can't get a loan. Some of the factors in determining your FICO score are:

  • Types of Credit — Do you have a healthy mix of credit cards and loans?
  • Payment History — How many times 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?

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 all three of the bureaus.

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 a view of what type of borrower you'll be solely because of your credit history. You'll need a score of at least 740 to get a decent interest rate. You'll still qualify for a mortgage with a lower score, but the interest paid in the long run could be more than double that of an individual having a higher credit score.

Staying on top of your FICO score is the first step in purchasing a home. Contact me and I can help you get on the right track to the home of your dreams.

How do you boost your credit 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 year or two by monitoring your credit report and by wisely using credit. The best way to do this is to know your FICO score. Here are some ways you can improve your credit score:

Raise your FICO score  to buy a property in Huntsville with Landa Pennington as your REALTOR - (256) 656-4741
  • Correct your credit report. If you discover mistakes 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.
  • Spread your debt around. At first, this doesn't sound like a good idea. But, you steer clear 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 the bulk of your debt sitting on one card.
  • Department Store cards and service station cards. For those who have non-existent credit or low credit, department store credit cards and gas credit cards are ways to start your credit history, increase your spending limits and have a solid payment history, which will raise your FICO score. You must always beware of maintaining a large balance for too long because these types of cards more than likely have a higher interest rate.
  • Use your credit. Whether you're just getting started with credit, or if you've got older cards, use your cards to make sure your accounts stay active. But, be sure to pay them off in no more than two or three payments.
  • Stay on top of payments. Late payments kill 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 with payment history, but it's the most reliable way to show that you're able to make payments to a bank.

Knowing the ways you can build up your credit score, you're one step closer to becoming a homeowner. Know that when you're ready to apply for a loan to purchase a home, you'll want to keep your applications within a two-week window to avoid a negative mark on your credit score. With the help of Landa Pennington, shopping for a mortgage can be a stress-free experience so you, too, can become a homeowner.

To learn more, visit 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.

I work with all levels of credit scores and can help you step into home ownership with the right lending insitution for you. E-mail me at Landa@myhuntsvillehomes.com or call (256) 656-4741 for more information.

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