How's Your Credit?

Raise your FICO score  to buy a home in Jacksonville with Choice Jacksonville Realty as your real estate agent - (910) 577-1000

Most people assume that the home buying process starts with getting pre-approved by a lender or with choosing a real estate agent. The quality of your wallet begins the home buying process. Saving your money for a down payment is great, but if you don't have an acceptable credit score to reinforce it, you could end up renting longer than you expected in Jacksonville until you improve your score.

The Fair Isaac Company bases your FICO score on the summary of your complete credit history. The score ranges from 300 to 850, with the majority of people normally having a score of 650. Job loss has been common in the last few years, but FICO scores aren't necessarily adjusted "on a curve." A low score is a low score and that often means you can't get a decent interest rate. Some of the factors in reviewing your FICO score are:

  • 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 — How many late payments have you made?
  • Credit to Debt Ratio — How much do you owe versus your available credit?

When you apply for a mortgage or any other loan, lenders want to make sure that extending a loan to you isn't a risk. Your credit score gives lenders an insight into what type of borrower you'll be based solely on your credit history. Because of the shift in the economy, most home buyers should have scores in the range of 740 or higher to get a satisfactory interest rate. You can get approved for a mortgage loan with a lower score, but the interest accrued over time could be more than double that of someone having a near perfect FICO score.

We're used to working with all tiers of FICO scores. Contact us and we can help you get on the right track to the home of your dreams.

How do you boost your credit score? Improving your FICO score takes time. It can be hard to make a significant change in your number with quick fixes, 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 most important thing is to know your FICO score. Here are some ways you can improve your credit score:


Raise your FICO score  to buy a home in Jacksonville with Choice Jacksonville Realty as your real estate agent - (910) 577-1000
  • 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 at the limit and have the rest of your cards at a zero balance. It's better to have each of your cards at a lower balance than to have the bulk of your debt sitting on one card.
  • Retail cards and gas cards. For those who have non-existent credit or below average credit, department store credit cards and gas credit cards are ways to obtain credit, increase your credit limits and have a solid payment history, which will raise your FICO score. You must always avoid holding a high balance for more than a couple of months because these types of cards usually have a higher interest rate.
  • Don't let your cards get dusty. Whether you have older cards, or are just getting started with credit, be sure to use your cards to make sure your accounts maintain an active status. But, pay them off in no more than two or three payments.
  • Keep up with payments. Late payments kill your credit history. It's one of the reasons people who have recently been unemployed see the biggest hit in their credit score. Yes, it takes longer to build up your credit with payment history, but it's the surest way to prove that you're responsible enough to make payments to a lender.
  • Correct your credit report. If you discover mistakes on your credit report, contact 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.

Knowing the methods you can use to raise your FICO score, you can move toward becoming a homeowner. Know 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 Choice Jacksonville Realty, shopping for a mortgage is sure to go more smoothly so you, too, can achieve home ownership.

Learn more about FICO scores at myFICO.com, Fair Isaac's informational site and review your credit history for free at annualcreditreport.com. And, for a small payment, you can get your FICO score from each bureau on their websites: equifax.com, experian.com and transunion.com.