Home buyer's Guide to Better Credit

Raise your FICO score  to buy a house in Rice Lake with RE/MAX Advantage as your REALTOR - (715) 736-7000

Most people assume that the home buying process starts with getting pre-approved for a loan or with choosing a real estate agent. In reality, the home buying process starts and ends with your finances. To make your goal of homeownership realized, you must consider your FICO score along with the type of loan for which you'll qualify in Rice Lake.

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 traditionally having a score of 600. With the change in the economy, however, some people have seen their score lowered as a result of unemployment, closed credit card accounts, or credit card accounts that were closed because they don't carry a balance. Some of the factors in reviewing your FICO score are:

  • Types of Credit — Do you have a healthy mix of loans and credit cards?
  • Payment History — How many times do you make late payments?
  • 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 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. 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 credit score gives lenders an insight into what type of borrower you'll be based solely on your credit history. You'll need a score of at least 700 to get a decent interest rate. If your score is lower, you can still qualify for a loan, but the interest accumulated over the life of the loan could be more than double that of an individual having a better FICO score.

Improving your credit is the best way to ease into purchasing a home. Contact us and we can help you get on the right track to the home of your dreams.

You want a stronger score, but how do you get there? Improving your FICO score takes time. It can be rare to make a large-scale change in your FICO score with small changes, but your score can improve in a few years by monitoring 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 pointers:


Raise your FICO score  to buy a property in Rice Lake with RE/MAX Advantage as your real estate agent - (715) 736-7000
  • Spread your debt around. At first, this doesn't sound like a good idea. But, you don't want to have one card that is maxed out 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 majority of your debt taking up the balance one card.
  • Apply for gas cards or retail credit. For those who have no credit or low credit, department store credit cards and gas credit cards are ways to repair credit, increase your spending limits and keep up your payments, which will raise your credit. You should always beware of holding a large balance for more than a couple of months because these types of cards traditionally have a higher interest rate.
  • Keep your cards active. Whether you have older cards, or are just getting started with credit, use your cards to make sure your accounts maintain an active status. But, make sure you pay them off in no more than two or three payments.
  • Pay on time. Late payments kill your credit score. It's where people who have recently experienced job loss see the biggest hit in their credit score. Yes, it takes longer to build up your credit with payment history, but it's the most reliable way to prove that you're responsible enough to make payments to a bank.
  • Correct your credit report. 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 pay extra attention 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 steps to homeownership, and that is improving your FICO score. Know 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 damaging your credit score. With the help of RE/MAX Advantage, shopping for a mortgage is sure to go more smoothly so you, too, can achieve home ownership.

To learn more, visit 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.

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