You’re ready to buy a home. You have stable employment, and make good money, so you should be able to easily get a loan, right? Not so fast. Lenders all use credit scores to help determine your ability to pay your debt before they take a risk on lending you money for a new home. Credit scores can vary from 300-850. That’s quite a range, so what should your credit score be to buy a house?
How Important is Your Credit Score for Buying an Atlantic County Home?
A credit score is calculated using a software program created by the Fair Isaac Corporation, or FICO. Understanding how your FICO score is used will help you understand the importance of a good score. Mortgage lenders use your score when determining your reliability towards making timely payments. This helps establish not only your approval or denial, but also what interest rate will be offered if approved.
According to Nerdwallet, excellent credit scores are considered to be 720 and up, and fair or “average credit” scores fall between 630-689. Credit scores falling below the average or fair range often result in the denial of credit to the borrower or credit offers at a much higher interest rate. Various things can impact your score, but most important is when you pay your bills, if they’re on time or not. Also, if you have a large number of late payment fees applied to your accounts or any of them in collections, your score will be lower.
Credit scores are reported by three agencies, Equifax, Experian and Transunion. All three agency reports are pulled by lenders to help determine your overall credit score. These scores usually vary slightly from one another. Lenders will use the median score to determine a borrower’s overall FICO score. For example, if your reports come back with a 680, 705, and 720, the lender will use 705 as the number to determine your eligibility as a borrower.
FHA (Federal Housing Administration) loans require a minimum credit score of 580 to qualify for their 3.5% down payment option which is popular with first-time home buyers. You might be approved for an FHA loan with a score lower than 580 but the minimum down payment required will be 10% in those circumstances.
Raising your score quickly can help you get approved for a loan or to get approved for a better interest rate. Even slight differences can greatly affect the rate you’re offered. According to MyFICO.com payment history contributes 35% to your credit score. In order to avoid paying late payments, set-up auto payments or reminders for yourself so everything is paid on time. Reducing the amount of debt owed is important as well, though not as simple to change. Pull your credit report to determine where the highest interest is being charged and focus on paying off those accounts first for the greatest impact. When reviewing your credit report make sure it is accurate. Dispute any discrepancies for debt you don’t owe or that you’ve already paid. If you make these changes you should see your score start improving each month.
Matt Haviland with The Haviland Group and Keller Williams Realty offers a complimentary credit score check and credit evaluation by filling out this form on the Mortgage Help page or their website. Complete the form for your evaluation today. If you would like more information, please give Matt a call today at 609-338-3773 or send him an e-mail. When you’re ready to buy your first home, Matt and his team are here to help from start to finish.