FICO® stands for Fair Isaac & Company and is the name for the most well known credit scoring system, used by Experian. The credit bureau’s computer evaluates a complete credit profile and assigns a score, which is used to estimate credit worthiness. Each of the three bureaus (Experian, Trans Union, Equifax) employs its own scoring system, so a given person will usually have 3 separate scores. Someone with a higher score will be viewed as a better risk than someone with a lower score. Typically, scores will range from about 600 to 700 or above, although some cases will be outside this range.
What Kind of Score Do I Need for a Home Loan?
There are as many answers to this question as there are loan programs available. Most lenders will take the average of all 3 scores to evaluate an application. Niche loans, such as Easy Qualifier and low down payment loans will have higher FICO® requirements.
How is My Score Determined?
The FICO® model has 5 main elements:
Past payment history (about 35% of score) The fewer the late payments the better. Recent late payments will have a much greater impact than a very old Bankruptcy with perfect credit since. Myth - paying off cards with recent late payments will fix things. Payoffs do not affect payment history.
Credit use (about 30% of score) Low balances across several cards is better than the same balance concentrated on a few cards used closer to maximums. Too many cards can bring down the score, but closing accounts can often do more harm than good if the entire profile is not considered. BE CAREFUL WHEN CLOSING ACCOUNTS!
Length of credit history (15% of score) The longer accounts have been open the better for the score. Opening new accounts and closing seasoned accounts can bring down a score a great deal.
Types of credit used (10% of score) Finance company accounts score lower than bank or department store accounts.
Inquiries (10% of score) Multiple inquiries can be a risk if several cards are applied for or other accounts are close to maxed out. Multiple mortgage or car inquiries within a 14 day period are counted as one inquiry.
How Can I Raise My Score
Your score can only be changed by the way that item is reported directly to the credit bureaus (Experian, TU, Equifax). Written confirmation from the creditor is required.
It is best to make these corrections before you try to purchase a home, because you can never be sure the exact impact a change will have on your score.
What Does This Mean to Me?
You should have your credit reviewed BEFORE you look for a home, and work with a PROFESSIONAL loan officer to make sure your loan is based on the most accurate information.
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After interviewing several Realtors, I chose Michelle and it was the best decision I could have made. The sale of my mother’s home turned out to be unexpectedly complicated and it was her attention to detail that helped us to discover and rectify an issue with the trust which we had no idea existed until Michelle started her thorough pre-sale paperwork. She guided my brother and I through every step of the process and worked closely with us, going above and beyond expectations, from start to finish. I would, without hesitation, highly recommend Michelle and think you should look no further if you are seeking the best realtor for the job. Thank you Michelle!
Thank you so much for everything you've done for us! Your attention to detail, knowledge, customer service and willingness to go beyond the expected and into the realm of "superb all-around agent" has made our new retirement residence possible. We hope we can continue to be personal friends now that our business is complete.Doug and Joan
Michelle Cowles is the best realtor we have ever worked with...friendly, efficient, thorough and detailed (almost to a fault!) and, most importantly, hangs in there with you until all matters are resolved and completed. Gerry & Marianne
You are amazing, Michelle. Thank you for your support through this whole transaction.Elaine