If you haven’t checked your credit score in a while, now is the time to do so. Knowing your credit score and taking steps to continuously improve it provides multiple benefits, especially when it comes to making residential or commercial property purchases. We’ve put together information on why your credit score is important and ways you can improve your number for the best financing rates.
Why Your Credit Score is Important for Purchasing Property
Before buying a new home, getting pre-approved for a loan is a major component to know what you can afford and allow for successfully closing a deal later on. This means you will need to know your credit score and potentially take steps to repair it in advance.
Your credit score is a key factor any lender will consider before qualifying you for a mortgage. Other things they will look at include:
- Income and employment history
- Down payment amount
- Debt-to-income ratio
What Credit Score Do You Need to Buy a Property
To get a good rate you will need a good credit score. The lower your score the riskier you are as a borrower. This means you can be charged higher interest rates for your loan or need to put in a larger down payment. Typically, you will get the lowest interest rate if your credit score is 740 or higher.
When purchasing a property, the typical minimum credit score you need will vary depending on the type of loan. For example:
- Conventional loans = 620 credit score
- FHA loan with 3.5% down payment = 580 credit score
- FHA loan with 10% down payment = 500 credit score
- USDA loan = 640 credit score
- VA loan = 580 credit score
Things That Impact Your Credit Score
When major credit bureaus such as Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion calculate your credit score there are certain common factors they take into account. These factors and their percentage weights are:
- Payment history = 35%
- The amount you owe = 30%
- Length of credit history = 15%
- Amount of new credit = 10 %
- Types of credit = 10%
How To Improve Your Credit Score
To get a reasonable residential or commercial financing rate, you will need a good credit score, ideally above 650. If you have a credit score below 650 don’t worry. There are ways you can improve your score. Here are the top five methods:
1. Dispute or Fix Errors
Credit bureaus can make errors that end up making it costly for you to get a loan. Check your report thoroughly, and if you find errors, contact the company providing the incorrect information and the credit reporting company (TransUnion, Equifax, and/or Experian). Make sure to share in writing:
- What you think is wrong
- Copies of documents supporting your dispute
2. Pay Your Bills on Time
Create a budget schedule and/or set up auto-pay to make sure you pay your bills on time every month. Your payment history makes up 35% of your credit score, so late or missed payments will negatively impact your score. The most recent missed payments are also weighed more heavily, so if you start paying on time today, you can gather a positive impact in the long run.
3. Maintain an Optimal Credit Utilization Ratio
Your credit utilization ratio is the percentage of your credit card balance compared to your overall credit card limit. For example, if your credit limit is $1,000 and you have an unpaid balance of $200, your credit utilization ratio is 20%. The optimal range for a credit utilization ratio to positively impact your credit score is over 0% and under 30%.
4. Pay Down Your Debts
Paying your debts will improve your credit utilization ratio and give you points on payment history. There are two common strategies when paying off debts:
- Debt Avalanche method: pay off your high-interest debts first
- Snowball method: pay your smallest balances first
5. Review the Credit Accounts You Have
Credit scoring companies will take into consideration how much you owe and how many accounts you have. Reviewing your credit accounts can be beneficial in multiple ways. First, you can identify any avenue for debt consolidation, especially under a lower interest rate, so it is easy for you to manage payments.
You also want to be aware of the last time you opened a new credit account. Make sure you aren’t opening multiple new accounts in a short period since this can make you appear risky and impact your credit score negatively. If you have an account that you’ve paid down, try to keep it open so you can maintain the positive payment history associated with that account.
Things to Do If You Have No Credit Score
If you don’t have a credit history and need to start building credit towards a credit score, here are things you can do to prepare for your future home purchase.
- Find a co-signer
- Apply for secured credit cards
- Get a store card
- Become an authorized user on someone’s credit card
- Report your rent and utility payments to credit bureaus
We hope this information helps you understand the importance of your credit score and how to improve your numbers. If you’re planning to purchase a property soon or you’d like to create a plan to help you get prepared to purchase, schedule a free consultation call with us today.
– The Zion Team
Phone: (858) 324-1951 | To schedule a meeting or call, click here.