Scoring Your Credit - How's Your FICO?

Raise your FICO score  to buy a home in Durham with Seagroves Realty as your agent - 919-317-1115

Choosing a lender isn't the first step in becoming a homeowner. In reality, the home buying process begins 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 Durham.

The Fair Isaac Company bases your FICO score on the summary of your total credit history. The score ranges from 300 to 850, with most people traditionally having a score of 650. Since we've experienced an economic downturn, however, some borrowers have seen their score drop dramatically after unemployment, charged off credit card accounts, or credit card accounts closed by the lender due to inactivity. Some of the factors in determining your FICO score are:

  • 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 often do you make late payments?
  • Credit to Debt Ratio — How much do you owe versus how much credit you have available?

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 an insight into what type of borrower you are solely because of your credit history. You'll need a score of at least 700 to get a satisfactory interest rate. If your score is less than that, you can still qualify for a loan, but the interest paid over the life of the loan could be more than double the amount of someone having a stronger credit score.

Improving your credit 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.

There are strategies to improve your score. Improving your FICO score takes time. It can be hard to make a large-scale change in your credit score with small changes, but your score can improve in a few years by monitoring your credit report and by wisely using credit. 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 property in Durham with Seagroves Realty as your real estate agent - 919-317-1115
  • Pay on time. Your FICO score plummets with every account that goes to collections. It's where people who have recently experienced job loss see the biggest hit in their credit score. Yes, it takes longer to rebuild your credit with payment history, but it's the surest way to show that you're responsible enough to make payments to a bank.
  • Ensure that your credit history is correct. If you find 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 give extra care to make sure the activity reported is correct.
  • Spread your debt around. At first, this doesn't seem like a good idea. But, you don't want to have one card that is at the limit and have the rest of your cards at a zero balance. It's better to have each of your cards at about 25% of their credit limit than to have the majority of your debt sitting on one card.
  • Chain Store cards and service station cards. For those who have non-existent credit or low credit, chain store credit cards and gas credit cards are ways to start your credit history, increase your credit limits and keep up your payments, which will raise your credit. You should always avoid keeping a large balance for too long because these types of cards normally have a larger interest rate.
  • Use your credit. Whether you have older cards, or are just getting started with credit, 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.

Now that you're better informed 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 home, 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 Seagroves Realty, the loan application process is sure to go more smoothly 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.

I work with all tiers of FICO scores and can help you step into home ownership with the best lending insitution for you. E-mail me at julie@seagrovesrealty.com or call 919-317-1115 for more information.

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