How's Your Credit?

Raise your FICO score  to buy a house in Winston-Salem with Mitchell Prime Properties as your REALTOR - 336-722-9911

Choosing a lender isn't the first step in becoming a homeowner. The quality of your wallet begins the home buying process. To become a homeowner, considering your credit score is a must along with the type of loan for which you'll qualify in Winston-Salem, North Carolina.

A FICO score is a collection of your years of credit history based on a model developed by Fair Isaac and Company. The score ranges from 300 to 850, with most people normally having a score of 650. Since we've experienced an economic downturn, however, some people have seen their score lowered after underemployment, closed credit card accounts, or credit card accounts that were closed because they don't carry a balance. Some of the pieces in reviewing your FICO score include:

  • Credit to Debt Ratio — How much do you owe versus how much credit you have available?
  • 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 loans and credit cards?
  • Payment History — How many late payments have you made?

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 a view of what type of borrower you are based solely on your credit history. You'll need a score of at least 700 to get a satisfactory interest rate. You'll still get approved for a mortgage with a lower score, but the interest paid over time could be more than double the amount of an individual with a higher credit score.

Staying on top of your FICO score 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.

How do you boost your credit score? Improving your FICO score takes time. It can be rare to make a significant change in your credit score with quick fixes, but your score can improve in a few years by keeping tabs your credit report and by using credit extended to you to raise your score, instead of ruin it. The best way to do this is to know your FICO score. Here are some methods to improve your credit score:

Raise your FICO score  to buy a home in Winston-Salem with Mitchell Prime Properties as your real estate agent - 336-722-9911
  • Keep your cards in rotation. Whether you're just getting started with credit, or if you've got older cards, be sure to use your cards to make sure your accounts stay active. But, be sure to pay them off in one or two payments.
  • Keep up with payments. Payment history is a big factor in your FICO score. It's where people who have recently experienced job loss see the biggest hit in their credit score. Yes, it takes longer to restore your credit with payment history, but it's the most reliable way to prove 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, write to 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.
  • Even out your debt. At first, this doesn't sound 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 a smaller balance than to have all of your debt sitting on one card.
  • Chain Store cards and gas station cards. For those who have non-existent credit or less-than-stellar credit, department 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 FICO score. You should always avoid charging a high balance for more than a couple of months because these types of cards normally have a larger interest rate.

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 lender applications within a two-week window to avoid adverse effects on your credit score. With the help of Mitchell Prime Properties, shopping for a mortgage can be a stress-free experience so you, too, can achieve home ownership.

To learn more, visit 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 won't judge you based on your credit and can help you settle into home ownership with the right mortgage lender for you. E-mail me at Johnmark@GoMitch.com or call 336-722-9911 for additional information.