When buying a home, you know that credit score is important. In fact, according to Forbes, 90% of the top U.S. lenders use a credit score to decide whether or not to issue a mortgage.
With credit score, higher is always better. So how can you raise your credit score?
Idea #1—Fix any mistakes on your credit report.
Check your credit report for errors. Most of the big three credit bureaus—Experian, TransUnion, and Equifax—let you address errors online. Visit AnnualCreditReport.com to see your current credit report (you’re entitled to one free copy per year). For a few bucks, you can also see your actual score.
Idea #2—Pay off credit card balances.
Pay off balances and keep your debt low while you’re in the process of applying for a mortgage. According to CreditSesame.com, it’s good to keep your overall credit utilization ratio to below 30% (that’s the amount of credit you’re actually using, compared to all the open credit you have available). For example, if you have $10,000 of available credit, you would want less than $3,000 in debt (that’s 30%). The lower your credit utilization rate, the better.
Idea #3—Increase the credit limits on EXISTING credit cards only.
This also helps improve your credit utilization ratio by making your total available credit larger, and thus making your existing debt look smaller in comparison.
Idea #4—If you have ZERO credit cards, get one.
This helps to establish a good credit history. But do it only if you have zero credit cards. If you already have at least one or two credit cards, wait until after the mortgage gets approved before you apply for a new one (credit inquiries stay on your credit report for up to two years, and too many inquiries can be a red flag for some lenders).
Idea #5—Pay off car, personal, or student loans.
This will help boost your credit score, just like paying off your credit cards.
Idea #6—Leave unused credit cards open.
Believe it or not, canceling an empty, unused credit card will actually lower your credit score.
Idea #7—Pay bills on time.
Every time you make a late payment—or miss a payment—it gets reported to the credit bureaus. (This applies to rent, credit cards, leases, car loans, student loans, the electric company, the cable TV company, etc.) Be diligent with your payments to avoid problems, especially in the year leading up to your first mortgage application.
We’ll help you get pre-approved for a home loan. ContactHomeServices Lending today!