How To Improve Your Credit Score

by Sharron Cochran 01/06/2020

One of the most critical aspects of your financial state, when you’re buying a home, is that of your credit score. Credit scores take your entire economic history into account. That means every missed payment, every account opened, and that three-digit number represents every debt you owe. Once you obtain your credit score and assess your finances, if you realize your score needs help, you may feel desperate. The good news is that there are plenty of things that you can do to raise your credit score in a short time to increase your chances of getting a better rate on a loan for your home purchase. If you are thinking of buying a home in the near future, consult with a local lender early in the process, so he or she can check your credit scores and advise you on how to go about correcting any issues in your credit report that might adversely affect your ability to get a good mortgage. Call me if you need a lender recommendation!

 

Keep An Eye On Your Credit Card Balances

One of the most impactful factors on your credit score is how much debt you have. Paying off your outstanding credit card balances will have a positive effect on your score. How much debt you have versus how much available credit you have is a significant factor in your score. If you pay your balances in full each month, that’s great. Keep in mind that even if you do pay off your balances, that monthly balance amount affects your score as well. TIP: Credit card companies report to the credit agencies once a month, right after generating your bill. So if you go online and pay your bill the day before it would have been generated, your bill will be zero, and that is the "debt" that will show on your credit reports for the entire month. If you are trying to raise your score as much as possible, this might help!

Remember Some Debt History Is Good

Once you pay off a car or home loan, it can be tempting to want these accounts removed from your credit history. When you’re getting a home loan, the lender wants to know that you’re reliable. If you can show that you have responsibly paid off other loans that can only be a positive thing for you and your credit score. Don’t be so quick to remove old accounts that have been paid off from your report. Also, older credit cards (that you have had for a long time) help your score, so if you switch to using a new card, it might be smart to put away (or cut up and throw away) the old card but keep the account open. The length of time you have had that old card, and the unused credit line on it, can only help your score.

Pay On Time

If you pay your bills on time continuously, it can only bring your score up. If our rating needs help, this could be the most critical thing that you can do to raise your score.

Keep Your Payments Equal Over Time

Keeping your payments equal means that you shouldn’t start charging more than you usually would. You also shouldn’t begin to make lower payments than you have been. Keeping your spending and payments consistent can help you to raise and maintain a good credit score.

If you know you’ll be purchasing a home soon; you should check your credit score. If you’re not close to heading out on the home search, you can pull back a bit, but it is a good idea to check each of the 3 credit agencies once a year to make sure the reports do not contain errors (go to annualcreditreport.com for free reports, but these don't provide your score). While you always want to maintain good credit health, you shouldn’t be so focused on your credit score that you forget about other things like saving for a downpayment. Know that your credit score is essential in buying a home, but understand that there are many moving parts when it comes to buying a home. 

 

About the Author
Author

Sharron Cochran

Hi, I'm Sharron Cochran and I'd love to assist you. Whether you're in the research phase at the beginning of your real estate search or you know exactly what you're looking for, you'll benefit from having a real estate professional by your side. I'd be honored to put my real estate experience to work for you.