Favorable mortgage rates typically go to people with credit scores indicating they pay their bills on time and in full. How can you improve your credit score before you apply for a mortgage?
First, consider where you currently stand by asking for a free credit report from TransUnion, Equifax or Experian. Next, notice your “FICO” score, which is one of the main things mortgage lenders take into account. The FICO score considers things like your payment history, amounts owed, length of credit history and types of credit used. This is the score you’ll want to improve before securing a mortgage rate. Finally, look for any errors on your credit report and fix them as needed. For disputed accounts, you can contact both the credit bureau and the lender, bank or creditor that provided the information to the bureau. Both are responsible for correcting any inaccurate or incomplete information in your report.
After you know what your current credit score is, thanks to the credit report you looked at, it’s time to figure out what you can do to improve it within the next few months.
Now’s the time to cut out spending on frivolous things you don’t really want or need. Instead of wasteful spending, start paying down your credit card debt balances, which will improve your overall credit score. Then, since you’re not overspending because you’ve made a conscious effort to avoid buying things you don’t want or need, you’re also able to pay your current credit card bills on time. This shows mortgage companies you’re serious about keeping a positive payment history rather than always making late payments.
To maximize your FICO score, get in the habit of paying all your bills on time, every time. Do your best to keep balances on credit cards low, and only apply for credit when you absolutely need it. Ultimately, mortgage lenders want to have confidence in you, and by making some changes in how you handle your bills now, you can secure favorable rates when you decide to invest in a house and seek a mortgage to make that a reality.