I have had several experiences over the last year with people who wanted to buy a home, but couldn't because of credit problems. Many people don't understand how important good credit scores are-for mortgages and even your car insurance rates.
If you don't have a good credit score, you're going to pay a higher interest rate for a home mortgage, if you can even get qualified for one. You're going to pay more for everything. Even car insurance checks your credit scores before giving you a quote.
Here are some tips from the National Association of REALTORS® to help improve your credit:
Credit scores, along with your overall income and debt, are a big factor in determining if you’ll
qualify for a loan and what loan terms you’ll be able to qualify for.
1. Check for and correct errors in your credit report. Mistakes happen, and you could be paying
for someone else’s poor financial management.
2. Pay down credit card bills. If possible, pay off the entire balance every month. However,
transferring credit card debt from one card to another could lower your score.
3. Don’t charge your credit cards to the maximum limit.
4. Wait 12 months after credit difficulties to apply for a mortgage. You’re penalized less for
problems after a year.
5. Don’t purchase big-ticket items for your new home on credit cards until after the loan is
approved. The amounts will add to your debt.
6. Don’t open new credit card accounts before applying for a mortgage. Having too much
available credit can lower your score.
7. Shop for mortgage rates all at once. Too many credit applications can lower your score, but
multiple inquiries from the same type of lender are counted as one inquiry if submitted over a
short period of time.
8. Avoid finance companies. Even if you pay the loan on time, the interest is high and it will
probably be considered a sign of poor credit management.
This information is copyrighted by the Fannie Mae Foundation and is used with permission of
the Fannie Mae Foundation. To obtain a complete copy of the publication, “Knowing and
Understanding Your Credit,” visit http://www.homebuyingguide.org.