How's Your Score?

Raise your FICO score  to buy a home in Midland with McCourt Real Estate Services as your agent - (432) 520-8334

The road to home ownership doesn't start with getting pre-approved for a loan or with choosing a real estate agent. In reality, the home buying process begins with your finances. To realize your goal of owning a home, considering your credit score is a must along with the type of loan for which you'll qualify in Midland.

The Fair Isaac Company calculates your FICO score on the summary of your total credit history. The score ranges from 300 to 850, with the majority of people normally having a score of 650. 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 a decent interest rate. 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 — Do you pay your bills on time ?
  • Credit to Debt Ratio — How much do you owe versus your available credit?
  • Credit Inquiries — Do you have too many open accounts?

In reviewing your credit history, 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 calculate 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 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 an insight into 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 satisfactory interest rate. If your score is lower, you can still qualify for a loan, but the interest accumulated in the long run could be more than double the amount of someone having a stronger FICO score.

Call me at (432) 520-8334 and I can help you get on the right track to the home of your dreams.

How do you obtain a higher score? Building 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 few months by monitoring your credit report and by using your credit wisely. The most important thing is to know your FICO score. Here are some ways you can improve your credit score:

Raise your FICO score  to buy a home in Midland with McCourt Real Estate Services as your real estate professional - (432) 520-8334
  • Retail cards and gas station cards. For those who have non-existent credit or less-than-stellar credit, chain store credit cards and gas credit cards are ways to establish your credit history, increase your credit limits and stay on top of your payments, which will raise your credit. You must always beware of charging a high balance for too long because these types of cards usually have a surprising interest rate.
  • Don't let your cards get dusty. Whether you're just getting started with credit, or if you've got older cards, use your cards so that your accounts maintain an active status. But, pay them off in no more than two or three payments.
  • Stay on top of payments. Late payments hurt your FICO score. It's one of the reasons people who have recently been unemployed see the biggest dip in their credit score. Yes, it takes longer to rebuild your credit this way, but it's the surest way to show that you're able to make payments to a bank.
  • Ensure that your credit history is correct. If you discover incorrect items 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.
  • Spread your debt around. At first, this doesn't sound like a good idea. But, you steer clear of having one card that is at the maximum 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 most of your debt transferred to one card.

Knowing the ways you can build up your credit score, you're one step closer to becoming a homeowner. Keep in mind that when you're ready to apply for a loan to purchase a home, you'll want to keep your lender applications within a two-week window to avoid adverse effects on your credit score. With the help of McCourt Real Estate Services, shopping for a mortgage can be a stress-free experience so you, too, can become a homeowner.

Get more information by visiting 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 can help you settle into home ownership with the best lending insitution for you. E-mail me at caren@mccourtrealestate.com or call (432) 520-8334 for more information.