First-Time Buyer's Guide to Better Credit

Raise your FICO score  to buy a house in Oklahoma City with Scissortail Residential Realty as your REALTOR - (405) 470-5500

Most people assume that the home buying process starts with getting pre-approved by a lender 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 Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.

A FICO score is a review 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 600. 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 loan. Some of the factors in determining your FICO score include:

  • Credit to Debt Ratio — How much do you owe versus your available credit?
  • 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 credit cards and loans?
  • Payment History — Do you pay your bills on time each month?

Lenders want to be positive that allowing you a loan is a safe move. Your FICO 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. 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 that of someone with a better credit score.

Getting your credit in order is the best way to ease into owning a home. Contact me and I can help you get on the right track to the home of your dreams.

You want an improved score, but how do you get it? Building your FICO score takes time. It can be rare to make a significant stride change in your number with small changes, but your score can improve in a few years by monitoring 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. You'll improve your credit score by using these tips:

Raise your FICO score  to buy a home in Oklahoma City with Scissortail Residential Realty as your real estate agent - (405) 470-5500
  • Apply for gas station cards or department store credit. For those who have no credit or below average 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 should always beware of charging a large balance for too long because these types of cards normally have a surprising interest rate.
  • Use your credit. 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 no more than two or three payments.
  • Pay on time. Delinquent payments drastically drop your credit 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 restore your credit with payment history, but it's the surest way to prove that you're responsible enough to make payments to a lender.
  • Ensure that your credit history is correct. If you discover 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 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 want to avoid of having one card that is maxed out and have your remaining cards at a zero balance. It's better to have each of your cards at a smaller balance than to have the majority of your debt taking up the balance a single card.

Knowing the ways you can build up your credit score, you're one step closer to becoming a homeowner. Remember that when it's time to apply for a loan to purchase a house, you'll want to keep your applications within a two-week window to avoid a negative mark on your credit score. With the help of Scissortail Residential Realty, the loan application process is sure to go more smoothly so you, too, can become a homeowner.

To learn more, visit 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 work with all tiers of credit scores and can help you settle into home ownership with the right lender for you. E-mail me at edward@scissortailrealty.com or call (405) 470-5500 for more information.