If you’re thinking about buying a home, getting your finances in shape ahead of your house hunt is important to save you a good deal of money when it comes to your mortgage interest rate. And the first thing on your agenda to assess should be your credit scores. You might have money in the bank and a steady stream of income coming your way, but if your credit scores are lacking, a lender can knock you for it – and that costs you money.
Most mortgage lenders won’t even work with borrowers with a credit score under 620. So, if yours is below that threshold, you must work on it before you engage a lender. And even if your score rests in a good range, positively impacting it can save thousands of dollars in interest because your credit scores are a major factor in determining what interest rate a lender extends.
How long does it take you to get an ideal credit score? That depends on what brought your score down in the first place. Devastating credit events like bankruptcy can take years to recover from, but other more common occurrences, like applying for a new credit card, may only take a few months.
3 Tips on How to Help Positively Impact Your Credit Score to Buy a House:
1. Avoid late payments.
Your payment history and ability to pay on time are the main factors affecting your credit score. So, if you often forget to make payments, consider setting up autopay.
2. Don’t use up all your available credit.
Another obvious factor in determining your credit score is the percentage of total available credit that you use. You want to keep this number relatively low, tapping into only about 30% of your available credit line. Understanding your credit utilization ratio and how it works is an important step in assessing your finances before applying for a mortgage. To better this ratio, pay down your credit card debt to your ability. The more debt you can eliminate, the lower your ratio can be. Another possible option is to ask for a credit limit increase, which would lower your ratio. In addition, a higher credit limit can reduce your monthly spending percentage, which can positively impact your score.
3. Check your credit report regularly to remove any inaccuracies or fraud.
Check your credit report for inaccuracies before applying for a mortgage to have ample time to dispute inaccurate information that might be negatively impacting your score. You should consider making a checklist to help you assess your report. Or to be extra careful, use a reputable credit monitoring service that can do this for you 24/7.
Gaining excellent credit takes time, and your efforts don’t always pay off overnight. Remember that whatever your score is when you pursue a mortgage, there is always an opportunity to continue to positively impact it, even after buying a home.