Before applying for a home loan it is important to know your credit score. Your credit score is like a financial report card. It is determined by taking into account your payment history, total credit owed, length of credit history, new credit and types of credit used. It shows lenders how financially capable you are. Here at Community Lending of America, we never want your credit score to stop you from pursuing your dreams of owning a home. With that said, we have come up with a list of tips that can easily help improve your credit score and help you get into the home of your dreams.
Know your credit score
It’s important to know your credit score because then you know where to start! Community Lending of America offers a free credit report to get you started! You are also entitled to three free reports each year. Learn more by visiting www.annualcreditreport.com.
Get a credit card
If you want to build credit, you have to use credit. If you have a low credit score, you can speed up the process of building credit by getting a secured credit card. With secured credit cards, a company extends credit if you put down a security deposit. You can prove that you handle credit responsibly by using your card in small increments and paying it off each month on time. The credit card company then reports your responsible use to the credit bureaus. Your good credit history will result in an increase of your credit score.
Pay on time
Your credit history impacts your credit score. If you’ve had problems paying your bills on time in the past, this will negatively affect your credit score. An easy fix and quick way to improve your score is by paying on time. First, pay bills that are past-due. If you can’t pay the full amount, many companies will work with you on a payment plan until you are back on schedule. Next, stay up to date on your bills. Make sure to pay all of them on time, including your utilities, credit card bills, etc.
Pay down debt
In addition to paying on time, pay off your debts as quickly as possible to improve your utilization. Credit utilization is essentially a ratio of the amount of credit you are using compared to the amount that you have available. The higher your credit utilization, the lower your score. The most effective way is to reduce your credit utilization is to reduce the amount of debt you owe. Once you pay off a credit card, don’t close your line of credit immediately. Having unused open credit will help both the utilization and credit history components of your score.
Your credit score didn’t accumulate overnight so it won’t change that quickly either. You’ll start to notice a change between 30-60 days. While you wait, stay consistent with paying your bills on time and not maxing out your credit limit. Before you know it, your credit score will begin to improve. As always, if you have questions on how to improve your credit score, Community Lending of America is here to help!