Home buyer's Guide to Better Credit

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

Choosing a lender isn't the first step in becoming a homeowner. The content of your wallet begins the home buying process. Saving your money for a down payment is a good idea, but if you lack a strong credit score to back it up, you could find yourself renting longer than you expected in Jacksonville until your FICO score is acceptable.

A FICO score is a collection of your years of credit history based on a model developed by Fair Isaac and Company. Most people usually have a score of 600, but scores range from 300 to 850. With the change in the economy, however, some people have seen their score drop by hundreds of points as a result of underemployment, closed credit card accounts, or credit card accounts terminated because the card didn't carry a high balance. Some of the factors in reviewing your FICO score include:

  • Types of Credit — Do you have a healthy mix of loans and credit cards?
  • Payment History — Do you pay your bills on time ?
  • Credit to Debt Ratio — How much do you owe versus your available credit?
  • Credit Inquiries — Do you have too many open accounts?

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 FICO score gives lenders a view of what type of borrower you'd be based solely on your credit history. You'll need a score of at least 740 to get a decent interest rate. You can get approved for a loan with a lower score, but the interest accumulated over time could be more than double that of an individual having a better credit score.

We're used to working with all tiers of credit history. Call us at (910) 577-1000 and we can help you get on the right track to the home of your dreams.

You want a stronger score, but how do you get there? Building your FICO score takes time. It can be difficult to make a significant stride change in your number with quick fixes, but your score can improve in a few years by monitoring your credit report and by wisely using credit. 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 REALTOR - (910) 577-1000
  • Ensure that your credit history is correct. If you find mistakes on your credit report, contact the bureau requesting that the item be removed. If you have a common name or the same name as a family member, you'll want to give extra care to make sure the activity reported is correct.
  • 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 holding the maximum and have the rest of your cards at a zero balance. It's better to have each of your cards at a smaller balance than to have the bulk of your debt taking up the balance one card.
  • Department store cards and gas station cards. For those who have non-existent credit or low credit, chain store credit cards and gas credit cards are ways to get credit, increase your spending limits and keep up your payments, which will raise your credit. You should always avoid keeping a large balance for more than a couple of months because these types of cards more than likely have a surprisingly high 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 stay active. But, pay them off in one or two payments.
  • Pay on time. How often you're late with payments greatly affects your credit score. It's one of the reasons people who have recently experienced job loss 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 show that you're able to make payments to a bank.

Knowing the ways you can raise your FICO score, you can move toward becoming a homeowner. Keep in mind that when it's time to apply for a loan to purchase a home, you'll want to keep your lender applications within a two-week window to avoid adverse effects on your credit score. With the help of Choice Jacksonville Realty, the loan application process is sure to go more smoothly so you, too, can achieve home ownership.

To learn more, visit 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.