If you are currently renting and are considering purchasing a home you may need to check a few things before you begin your search. One of the most important things to know before you venture into home ownership is what your credit score is.
Your credit score will tell you everything about your credit history and this is what lenders will be looking at when deciding whether to approve you for a home loan. You may have thought you were doing everything right but your credit score will be the deciding factor. You are able to request a copy of your credit report from the three reporting companies ( Transunion, Experion, and Equifax). If you find something on your report that is fishy you can look into it, this is another way to keep track of any identity theft that may have happened that you may not even be aware of.
Credit scores can range from an excellent rating of 800+ down to below 499 which is as you can guess, not great. The higher your score the better chance of getting a better rate and being approved for a loan. There isn’t really a secret formula for improving your score except for paying your bills on time and being consistent. Also eliminating debt whenever possible will bump up your score. Some experts will tell you to pay off the higher interest rate credit cards or loans first, others say get rid of the smaller balances. This is really a personal decision, but either way paying off as much debt as possible will increase your credit score.
Another factor is how long your credit history is. If you have had a good history and have a had a credit card for a long time that will work in your favor. If you have cards showing on your report but they have not been used in a while you may want to charge small amounts on them every so often. These will then be considered active when the credit agency is figuring your score. Also do not open a bunch of new cards at once, this will lower the average age of your accounts and will push your score down. Another thing to consider is if you close your cards, this can lower your score as well. Again these are all suggestions but only you can decide what your best option is.
Those that may have had financial struggles in the past may bury their head in the sand and not want to look at their credit score. However being educated on this will only help you in the end achieve the best loan rates and getting on the road to owning your home!