Are You Credit Score Ready to buy a new house?
A credit score isn’t the only deciding factor on your mortgage application, but it’s a significant one. So, when you’re house shopping, it’s important to know where your credit stands and how to use it to get the best mortgage rate possible.
Why Does Your Credit Score Matter?
Your credit score (commonly called a FICO Score) can range from 300 at the low end to 850 at the high end. A score of 740 or above is generally considered very good, but you don’t need that score or above to buy a home. Credit scores are maintained by the national credit bureaus and include debt like credit cards, auto loans, or student loans.
Your score is influenced by many factors, but the two biggest are whether you pay your bills on time and how much debt you owe. Having a credit score based on these factors gives lenders a quick way to see if you’re likely to pay your future bills – like your mortgage, for example.
Credit score and mortgages
Though your credit score is a big factor in the mortgage process, it doesn’t necessarily mean that you won’t be able to get a mortgage if you don’t have a great score. Lenders will also consider your income, employment history, and debt, along with the amount of the mortgage you’re requesting and your down payment. If lenders review all the information and determine that you are likely to make your mortgage payments in full and on time, you may be able to get better loan terms.
The minimum credit score needed for most mortgages is typically around 620. However, government-backed mortgages like Federal Housing Administration (FHA) loans typically have lower credit requirements than conventional fixed-rate loans and adjustable-rate mortgages (ARMs). By the way, we can help you figure out what mortgage options would best fit your situation and lifestyle.
How to Boost Your Credit Score
If you have bad credit but are a first-time homebuyer, start maximizing your score before you begin house hunting. Check your credit score so you know where you stand, review your credit history to make sure it’s accurate, and remember to consistently pay your bills on time.
So here’s a short list of things to try to avoid when applying for a mortgage so that you can keep your options open.
Avoid opening new credit cards.
Avoid closing credit cards (since this can also impact your credit score).
Avoid applying for new loans.
Avoid co-signing on any new loans.
Taking steps today to prepare for mortgage applications in the coming year can make a significant difference in the number of mortgage offers you receive, and the total amount you'll pay on your mortgage loan. Putting your best credit profile forward can mean big savings as you begin the process of buying a new home.