Ways to Increase Your FICO Score for Home Buying

Raise your FICO score  to buy a house in Sarasota with RE/MAX Platinum Realty as your agent - 941-929-9090, Ext 195

You might think that the home buying process starts with getting pre-approved by a lender 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 Sarasota, Florida.

The Fair Isaac Company calculates your FICO score on the summary of your total credit history. Most people traditionally have a score of 600, but scores are tiered from 300 to 850. In recent years, however, some borrowers have seen their score lowered as a result of job loss, closed credit card accounts, or credit card accounts that were closed because they don't carry a balance. Some of the pieces in summing up your FICO score include:

  • Credit Inquiries — Do you have too many open accounts?
  • Types of Credit — Do you have a healthy mix of loans and credit cards?
  • Payment History — Do you pay your bills on time ?
  • Credit to Debt Ratio — How much do you owe versus your available credit?

When you pull your credit report, you'll see 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. As a result, you have three scores, one for each bureau.

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 credit score gives lenders an insight into what type of borrower you'd be solely because of your credit history. You'll need a score of at least 700 to get a decent interest rate. If your score is lower, you can still qualify for a loan, but the interest accrued over time could be more than double that of an individual with a better FICO score.

Getting your credit in order is the best way to ease into buying a home. Contact me and I 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 difficult to make a large-scale change in your FICO score with quick fixes, but your score can improve in a year or two by keeping tabs 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 pointers:

Raise your FICO score  to buy a property in Sarasota with RE/MAX Platinum Realty as your REALTOR - 941-929-9090, Ext 195
  • Apply for gas station cards or department store credit. For those who have non-existent credit or low credit, store credit cards and gas credit cards are ways to obtain credit, increase your credit limits and have a solid payment history, which will raise your credit. You should always beware of charging a large balance for too long because these types of cards usually have a higher interest rate.
  • Keep your cards active. Whether you're just getting started with credit, or if you've got older cards, use your cards so that your accounts stay active. But, make sure you pay them off in one or two payments.
  • Keep up with payments. How often you're late with payments greatly affects your credit score. It's one of the reasons 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.
  • Correct your credit report. If you find incorrect items 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 seem like a good idea. But, you want to avoid of having 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 taking up the balance a single card.

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. Know that when it's time to apply for a loan to purchase a home, you'll want to keep your credit inquiries within a two-week window to avoid adverse effects on your credit score. With the help of RE/MAX Platinum Realty, the loan application process is sure to go more smoothly so you, too, can achieve home ownership.

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 history and can help you settle into home ownership with the right lender for you. E-mail me at bill@sarasotaandkeys.com or call 941-929-9090, Ext 195 for additional information.