#1. – OPEN ACCOUNTS! – I have worked with several people that either had a Bankruptcy or got in trouble with credit cards and canceled them all. They use cash only now, thinking that is the best way to go. Well that is a great way to do things. However not if your trying to get a home loan or any other type of loan. In fact sometimes people don’t even generate a FICO score because they don’t have any credit at all! Thats bad news. You need three active credit accounts, preferably for one year to help your cause. “That means I have to use credit cards again? In the past they ruined me!” Well yea thats pretty much what it means. But lets understand how credit cards and loans effect your FICO score. First of all a FICO score doesn’t look at your job or how much money you make. You could have no debt and a $100,000.00 a year job but if you dont have active accounts, your FICO score may still be low. That means higher interest rates on loans. Here is what you can expect in terms of interest rates in relation to what your FICO score is:
- FICO score:– APR:
- 760-850—– 5.918%
- 700-759—– 6.140%
- 660-699—– 6.424%
- 620-659—– 7.234%
- 580-619—– 8.777%
- 500-579—– 9.670%
Many people aren’t aware that you cant really negotiate the rate much with lenders. That FICO score indicates your risk factor. You may know you can pay your loan but they don’t. When they see a 500 credit score they think there is a huge risk you will default on your loan, so they give you the interest rate that makes them the most amount of money in the shortest amount of time. Don’t think the lenders actually care about you or your circumstances they don’t, they care about money, thats it, thats the bottom line. They see your score and offer you that high risk rate loan. No matter how good a loan officer/Broker is they cant get a 6% interest rate for someone with a 550 score. It doesn’t matter how long you shop around. They can however lower their fees for you, give you great service, give you a no Yield Spread Premium loan, etc. Thats why its good to shop around for loan officers and find someone who honestly cares about you, your goals, and your money. I like to treat everyones loan who comes to me as if it were my own. Any way back to credit cards and how they help. OK so you have a credit card with a $1,000.00 limit. If you carry a balance of $850 on it you will actually hurt your credit score. You see FICO wants to see how you manage your money and bases a score on that. If it thinks you aren’t managing your money wisely then you get a lower score. If however you are carrying a balance of around 30% and making your payments on time every month that will help your credit score, looks like your managing your money well. Now it doesn’t make a difference if you have a credit limit of $300 or a Platinum $10,000 limit card it works the same way. So if you’ve had problems in the past with credit cards my suggestion is use them for small things like gas and make sure you have the money to pay them off. Remember Credit Cards are basically LOANS NOT cash! You have to pay them back and sometimes at substantial interest. Please don’t ever think of credit cards as cash. Credit cards help your FICO score by showing that you can manage your money responsibly and pay your debts on time. Your score gets higher as you continue to pay every month for years. Which will help you get a higher score a lower risk factor with the lenders and a better interest rate saving you $1,000s and $1,000.00s of dollars.
#2.- NEVER GO OVER 30 DAYS LATE ON ANYTHING! – Many people want to refinance their homes because they have gone 1,2,3 or even more months late on their mortgage. They have a 7% interest rate and suppose they can refinance at the same and take some cash out as well. If you have gone even once 30 days past due on a mortgage that is a killer to your FICO score. It causes it to just tank! So once that happens your going to end up in the High Risk score column. Your account moves to the “unsatisfactory” column on your credit report and Your refinance loan may be 9% or more and you may not even get financing. Remember the lenders just want to make money. What do you think they see when someone is 3 months past due on their current mortgage at 7% and they can only offer them a 10% loan at $300 more per month. They see default. If you think you might be short of money and before you go 30 days past due try to get refinancing then! Don’t wait till its too late because your going to be stuck with this high interest loan until you can clean up your credit report and your score goes up. That could take 1, 2, or even 3 years or more! Don’t ever go 30 days late on your credit cards! You may get charged a fee, and your interest may go sky high after you accidentally pay 10 days late, but, if you don’t go 30 days or more it wont go on your credit report. 30 DAYS LATE=TANKING FICO SCORE. Remember that.
#3.- CHECK YOUR CREDIT REPORT – Get a copy of your credit report so you can see if there are any inaccuracies on it. Most people actually have one or two inaccuracies on their report. You may have old collection accounts that should be removed. These should be looked at carefully and then disputed with the credit agencies. There are 3 credit reporting agencies. EQUIFAX, EXPERIAN (formerly trw) and TRANS UNION. You will need to order a copy from each and dispute each individually they are separate companies. You should try to do this BEFORE talking with your loan officer/Broker/Lender. Your score can go up significantly in 30 days or less by removing inaccurate information. It could be the difference in a 9.75% loan and a 6.9% loan. You cant take that chance. ORDER, REVIEW, DISPUTE!