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Understanding and Improving Your Credit Scores

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If you are in the market to purchase a new home, one of the key factors that mortgage lenders will evaluate will be your FICO Credit Score. The FICO score is a standardized approach that helps lenders deliver decisions on loans in an efficient manner. The range of scores can be as low as 300 and as high as a maximum of 850. FICO uses five (5) factors that will determine your score and credit worthiness.

35% of the score is based on previous payment history of the individual.

30% of the score is based on your credit utilization or your ratio of current debts compared to overall available credit limits.

15% of the score is based on the length of your credit history.

10% of the score weighs the types of credit you have such as installment, revolving, or consumer finance.

The final 10% is based on recent credit search history or simply put the number of recent inquiries that have been submitted. Numerous inquiries in a short period of time can cause your score to drop!

Because each of the three (3) credit reporting services Equifax, Experian, and Transunion collect different information, the scores can and do vary dramatically in many cases. As a general rule, a 720 or above credit score is considered excellent. a score of 680 to 719 is considered good. If the score is in the range of 620 to 679 then the lender will be more cautious and diligent in their research. You will still qualify in most cases with a score of 585 to 619, but the rates will be higher. Any score of 584 or below could discourage the lender from doing business with you.

Some simple rules for improving your credit score and making your loan approval by your lender an easier decision are as follows.

Pay all of your bills on time every month.

Pay off all of your existing debt.

Unused credit cards should not be closed. In many cases, this can actually lower your score.

Do not open several new credit card accounts over a short period of time.

I wish you the very best in your search for your new home and hope this information will assist you with taking advantage of these historically low mortgage rates.

The information that was provided is from a recent article published in Slideshare by Bill Gassett.

Steve Lester is a REALTOR residing in Allen, Texas.




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