Raise your FICO score  to buy a house in Bingen with Pathfinder Real Estate Services as your real estate agent - 509-774-0466

First-Time Buyer's Guide to Better Credit

The home buying process doesn't start with getting pre-approved for a loan or with choosing a real estate agent. In reality, the home buying process begins and ends 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 Bingen, Washington.

The Fair Isaac Company bases your FICO score on the summary of your complete credit history. The score ranges from 300 to 850, with most people normally having a score of 650. With the change in the economy, however, some people have seen their score lowered because of loss of employment, charged off credit card accounts, or credit card accounts closed by the lender due to inactivity. Some of the factors in calculating your FICO score include:

  • Credit to Debt Ratio — How much do you owe versus your available credit?
  • 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 — How many times do you make late payments?

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 calculate your credit rating. FICO is used by Experian. Equifax's model is called BEACON and TransUnion uses EMPIRICA. This means 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 a view of 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. You'll still get approved for a loan with a lower score, but the interest accrued in the long run could be more than double the amount of someone with a near perfect FICO score.

We're used to working with all levels of FICO scores. Call me at 509-774-0466 and I can help you get on the right track to the home of your dreams.

There are strategies to increase your score. Improving your FICO score takes time. It can be hard to make a significant stride change in your number with quick fixes, but your score can improve in a year or two by monitoring your credit report and by wisely using credit. The best way to do this is to know your FICO score. Here are some ways you can improve your credit score:

    Raise your FICO score  to buy a property in Bingen with Pathfinder Real Estate Services as your agent - 509-774-0466
  • Correct your credit report. 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 pay extra attention to make sure the activity reported is correct.

  • Even out your debt. At first, this doesn't sound like a good idea. But, you steer clear 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 a lower balance than to have all of your debt taking up the balance a single card.

  • Apply for service station cards or store credit. For those who have no credit or low credit, chain store credit cards and gas credit cards are ways to get credit, increase your spending limits and have a solid payment history, which will raise your FICO score. You must always beware of maintaining a high balance for more than a couple of months because these types of cards usually have a larger interest rate.

  • Use your credit. 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.

  • Pay on time. Your FICO score plummets with every account that goes to collections. 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 restore your credit this way, but it's the most reliable way to show that you're able to make payments to a bank.

Now that you're more 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 house, you'll want to keep your credit inquiries within a two-week window to avoid damaging your credit score. With the help of Pathfinder Real Estate Services, the loan 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 won't judge you based on your credit history and can help you settle into home ownership with the right lender for you. E-mail me at Lori@Pathfinder-RE.com or call 509-774-0466 for additional information.

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