Home Buying 101: Improve Your Credit Score

Raising your credit score can save you thousands of dollars on your home loan by lowering your interest rate. A 1% APR change will cost you about $20,000 in interest for every $100,000 that you borrow over a 30 year loan!

So, how do you get a better credit score? It’s easy!

  • Pay all of your bills on time for at least year. Many companies let you set up automatic payments, which is a great way to make sure you never forget to mail them a check!
  • Check your credit reports for errors – if you find any get them fixed. Mistakes happen, and you could be paying for someone else’s poor financial management. Each of the three major credit reporting companies has to give you a free credit report every year if you ask for it. They have set up a central website to handle the requests – visit www.annualcreditreport.com and check on your credit info every year.
  • The way you manage credit cards have a huge affect on your credit score. Transferring credit card debt from one card to another could lower your score, so will opening or closing several accounts. Your score will get higher as you keep a low balance over time, and keep paying it off. Your score will usually be higher if you have a couple different types of credit, but make sure none of them are charged to the limit. If you owe a lot of money on many different accounts it can indicate that you are overextended. However, it’s a good thing if you have a low proportion of balances to total credit limits.
  • If you have had credit problems like missed payments, judgments, etc., wait 12 months to apply for a mortgage. You’re penalized less for problems that happened over a year ago if you have had a good payment record since then.
  • If you think you are a victim of identity theft, or if your purse or wallet has been stolen, you can request the credit agencies to put a “fraud alert” or a security freeze on your account to protect you and your credit history.
  • Last, but not least… Avoid finance companies – even if you pay the loan on time, the interest rate is high and it can be considered a sign of poor credit management.

Here’s a great article at My FICO that goes into more detail about improving your score.https://www.myfico.com/credit-education/improve-your-credit-score

By Kathleen Seide | Posted in Real Estate | Tagged | Leave a comment

 


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