FICO - The First Step to Home Ownership

Raise your FICO score  to buy a property in Winter Park with Ferrell Realty, Inc. as your real estate agent - 407-628-3200

Choosing a lender isn't the first step in becoming a homeowner. The content of your wallet starts the home buying process. To realize your goal of owning a home, you must consider your FICO score along with the type of loan for which you'll qualify in Winter Park, Florida.

A FICO score is a collection of your years of credit history based on an instrument developed by Fair Isaac and Company. The score ranges from 300 to 850, with most people normally having a score of 650. 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 just that and often means you can't get a decent interest rate. Some of the factors in calculating your FICO score are:

  • Credit to Debt Ratio — How much do you owe versus how much credit you have available?
  • Credit Inquiries — Do you have too many open accounts?
  • Types of Credit — Do you have a healthy mix of credit cards and loans?
  • Payment History — How many late payments have you made?

When you pull your credit report, you'll discover 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.

Lenders want to make sure that allowing you a loan is a safe move. Your credit score gives lenders a view of what type of borrower you'd be solely because of your credit history. Because of the shift in the economy, most home buyers should have scores in the range of 700 or higher to get a satisfactory interest rate. If your score is less than that, you can still qualify for a loan, but the interest paid over the life of the loan could be more than double the amount of an individual having a superior FICO score.

I'm used to working with all levels of FICO scores. 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? Building your FICO score takes time. It can be difficult to make a significant stride change in your number with quick fixes, but your score can improve in a year or two by keeping tabs your credit report and by using your credit wisely. The most important thing is to know your FICO score. You'll improve your credit score by using these helpful hints:

Raise your FICO score  to buy a home in Winter Park with Ferrell Realty, Inc. as your real estate agent - 407-628-3200
  • Even out your debt. At first, this doesn't seem like a good idea. But, you want to avoid of having one card that is holding the maximum and have your remaining cards at a zero balance. It's better to have each of your cards at about less than 40% of their credit limit than to have the most of your debt sitting on one card.
  • Apply for gas cards or store credit. For those who have non-existent credit or low credit, retail credit cards and gas credit cards are ways to start your credit history, increase your credit limits and stay on top of your payments, which will raise your credit. You must always avoid carrying a high balance for too long because these types of cards traditionally have a larger interest rate.
  • Keep your cards active. 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 maintain an active status. But, make sure you pay them off in one or two payments.
  • Pay on time. How often you're late with payments greatly affects your credit score. It's where people who have recently been unemployed see the biggest dip in their credit score. Yes, it takes longer to build up your credit with payment history, but it's the surest way to prove that you're able to make payments to a bank.
  • Correct your credit report. If you discover 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 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 lender applications within a two-week window to avoid adverse effects on your credit score. With the help of Ferrell Realty, Inc., the loan application process is sure to go more smoothly so you, too, can become a homeowner.

Learn more about FICO scores at 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.

We won't judge you based on your credit and can help you step into home ownership with the right mortgage lender for you. E-mail me at frank@ferrellrealtyinc.com or call 407-628-3200 for more information.

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