Scoring Your Credit - How's Your FICO?
Most people assume that the home buying process starts with getting pre-approved for a loan or with choosing a real estate agent. The quality of your wallet starts the home buying process. To propel your dreams of homeownership forward, you must consider your FICO score along with the type of lender for which you'll qualify.
A FICO score is a review of your years of credit history based on a model developed by Fair Isaac and Company. Most people traditionally have a score of 600, 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 just that and often means you can't get credit extended to you via a mortgage loan. Some of the pieces in determining your FICO score include:
- 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 ?
- Credit to Debt Ratio — How much do you owe versus how much credit you have available?
When you pull your credit report, you'll discover that you actually have three reports. Experian, Equifax and TransUnion — three of the major credit reporting agencies — use a slightly different models 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 problem. Your FICO score gives lenders a view of what type of borrower you'll be 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 satisfactory interest rate. If your score is less than that, you can still qualify for a loan, but the interest accumulated over time could be more than double the amount of an individual with a better FICO score.
You want a stronger score, but how do you get it? Improving your FICO score takes time. It can be hard to make a significant stride change in your FICO score with small changes, but your score can improve in a year or two by keeping tabs 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 pointers:
Knowing the methods you can use to raise 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 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 Gallagher Realty Co, the loan application process can be a stress-free experience so you, too, can achieve home ownership.
Get more information by visiting www.myFICO.com, Fair Isaac's informational site and you can review all of your credit reports for free each year 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.