Raising Your FICO Score for Home Ownership

Choosing a lender isn't the first step in becoming a homeowner. The quality of your wallet starts the home buying process. Without an acceptable credit score, purchasing a house is more difficult and, you could find yourself renting for another couple of years in Barre, Vermont until your score improves.

The Fair Isaac Company bases your FICO score on the summary of your total credit history. Most people usually have a score of 650, but scores range from 300 to 850. With the change in the economy, however, some borrowers have seen their score drop by hundreds of points after unemployment, closed credit card accounts, or credit card accounts terminated because the card didn't carry a high balance. Some of the factors in summing up your FICO score are:

  • Credit to Debt Ratio — How much do you owe versus your available credit?
  • 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?

Lenders want to be positive that giving you a loan isn't a risk for them. Your FICO score gives lenders insight into what type of borrower you'll be solely because of your credit history. Because of the shift in the economy, most home buyers should have scores in the range of 700 or higher to get a decent interest rate. You'll still qualify for a loan with a lower score, but the interest paid over time could be more than double the amount of an individual with a superior FICO scorev


There are methods to raise your score. Building your FICO score takes time. At Coldwell Banker Classic Properties, we know it's rare to make a large-scale change in your credit score with small changes, but your score can improve in a year or two by keeping tabs your credit report and by using your credit wisely. The most important thing is to know your FICO score. You'll improve your credit score by using these tips:

Store cards and gas station cards. For those who have no credit or low credit, department store credit cards and gas credit cards are ways to obtain credit, increase your spending limits and keep up your payments, which will raise your credit. Just beware of charging a balance for more than a couple of two because these types of cards traditionally have a surprising interest rate.

Keep your cards in rotation. Whether you're just getting started with credit, or if you've got older cards, be sure to use your cards to make sure your accounts stay active. But, make sure you pay them off in no more than two or three payments.

Keep up with payments. How often you're late with payments greatly affects your credit score. It's where people who have recently experienced job loss see the biggest hit in their credit score. Yes, it takes longer to restore your credit with payment history, but it's the most reliable way to show that you're responsible enough to make payments to a lender.

Ensure that your credit history is correct. If you discover incorrect items on your credit report, write to 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 pay extra attention to make sure the activity reported is correct.

Even out your debt. At first, this doesn't seem like a good idea. But, you steer clear 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 about less than 40% of their credit limit than to have the most of your debt transferred to a single card.


Knowing the ways you can raise your credit score, you can move toward becoming a homeowner. Know that when you're ready to apply for a loan to purchase a house, you'll want to keep your lender applications within a two-week window to avoid a negative mark on your credit score. With the help of Coldwell Banker Classic Properties, the loan process can be a stress-free experience so you, too, can achieve home ownership.

Get more information by visiting www.myFICO.com, Fair Isaac's informational site and once per year, for free, you can review all three of your credit reports at www.annualcreditreport.com. And, for a small payment, you can get your FICO score from each bureau on their websites: www.equifax.com, www.experian.com and www.transunion.com.

At Coldwell Banker Classic Properties we don't judge you based on your credit history and can help you step into home ownership with the right mortgage lender for you. E-mail us at realtor@vtclassicproperties.com or call 802-223-6300 for additional information.