First-Time Buyer's Guide to Better Credit
Choosing a lender isn't the first step in becoming a homeowner. The content of your wallet begins the home buying process. To make your goal of homeownership realized, considering your credit score is a must along with the type of lender for which you'll qualify in .
The Fair Isaac Company bases your FICO score on the summary of your total credit history. The score ranges from 300 to 850, with the majority of people traditionally having a score of 600. Even though more people these days are experiencing job loss and delinquent credit cards, FICO scores aren't necessarily adjusted "on a curve." A low score is a low score and that often means you can't get credit. Some of the pieces in reviewing your FICO score include:
- Types of Credit — Do you have a healthy mix of credit cards and loans?
- Payment History — How many late payments have you made?
- Credit to Debt Ratio — How much do you owe versus your available credit?
- Credit Inquiries — Do you have too many open accounts?
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 are solely because of your credit history. You'll need a score of at least 700 to get a acceptable interest rate. If your score is lower, you can still qualify for a loan, but the interest accrued over the life of the loan could be more than double the amount of someone having a higher FICO score.
We're used to working with all levels of credit history. Call us at and we can help you get on the right track to the home of your dreams.
How do you get a stronger score? Improving your FICO score takes time. It can be difficult to make a large-scale change in your number with quick fixes, but your score can improve in a few years 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 helpful hints:
- Even out your debt. At first, this doesn't seem like a good idea. But, you steer clear of having one card that is maxed out and have your remaining 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 transferred to a single card.
- Apply for gas station cards or store credit. For those who have non-existent credit or low credit, chain store credit cards and gas credit cards are ways to improve credit, increase your credit limits and have a solid payment history, which will raise your credit. You should always beware of maintaining a high balance for more than a couple of months because these types of cards more than likely have a steeper interest rate.
- Don't let your cards get dusty. 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, pay them off in one or two payments.
- Pay on time. Your credit score plummets with every account that goes to collections. It's where people who have recently been unemployed see the biggest dip in their credit score. Yes, it takes longer to restore your credit this way, but it's the surest way to show that you're responsible enough to make payments to a lender.
- Ensure that your credit history is correct. If you find mistakes on your credit report, contact 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.
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. Keep in mind 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 adverse effects on your credit score. With the help of G World Properties, the loan process is sure to go more smoothly so you, too, can become a homeowner.
Learn more about FICO scores at myFICO.com, Fair Isaac's informational site and you can review all of your credit reports for free each year 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.