When applying for a loan, one of the most important factors that will come into play is your credit score. Before you start the loan application process, you should have a clear understanding of how your credit score affects your mortgage rate so you can assess your financial situation.
Most lenders use the FICO (Fair Isaac Corporation) model for credit scores. This model provides consumers a numerical value on a scale between 300-850. Typically, the higher your credit score, the lower the interest rate the lender will offer to you. Lenders use your credit score to determine how reliable you’ll be as a borrower and the likelihood that you’ll repay the loan as agreed upon. Essentially, they want to make sure you’ll make your mortgage payments on time each month. A lower score might indicate that a borrower could make late payments or even miss some. This is all part of your credit history, which they will also take into consideration.
Not necessarily. It mostly impacts which type of loan you’ll qualify for and the interest rate you’ll receive. A conventional loan usually requires a minimum of a 620 credit score, whereas an FHA loan has a minimum of 580. However, it’s important to note that while some loan programs accept lower credit scores, they might require a larger down payment or some other way to mitigate the lender’s risk in taking on the loan. In addition, even though someone with a 580 credit score COULD qualify for an FHA loan, it does not mean that they will; it is at the discretion of the lender within the guidelines of the loan programs.
A borrower has obtained a conventional fixed-rate 30-year loan of $200,000 with 10% down, meaning the amount borrowed is $180,000. She has a 750 credit score and received a 4% interest rate. Her monthly mortgage payment is $859 (not factoring in other fees, such as private mortgage insurance (PMI) or real estate taxes that may be included in the payment). Now, say that borrower dropped to a 650 credit score. She instead received a 5% interest rate. That increases her monthly mortgage payment to $966. That 100 point difference between credit scores ultimately means an extra $107 added to her mortgage payment each month. While that might not seem like a big deal, keep in mind the duration of the loan is 30 years. Having a higher interest rate means a yearly difference of $1,284; over 30 years that totals $38,520.
If you’re interested in comparing interest rates and monthly mortgage payments, use our mortgage calculator.
Don’t worry if your credit isn’t the best right now. Raising your credit score can take a lot of time, patience, and discipline. However, if you follow these simple guidelines you will soon notice a positive change in your credit and ultimately your financial future. You’ll be able to qualify for better rates when it’s finally time to buy a home.
To learn more about credit scores and interest rates, contact one of our licensed Mortgage Loan Originators. If you are ready to begin the home buying process, click here to get started!
*The figures used in this example are hypothetical and the results are intended for illustrative and educational purposes only. **NFM Lending is not a credit repair company. Please contact a credit repair company for more information on how to improve your credit score.
Getting ready to buy a home requires setting a few ducks in a row. For example, ensuring your credit is in the best possible standing. This might require some time (and patience) but it needs to be done. The better your credit score is, the higher the possibility that you will be approved for a loan, as well as receive a better interest rate. The following are ways you can avoid running into common credit issues.
Incorrect Information: It is recommended to obtain your credit report every year, so you can review your information. When you receive it, ensure your name is spelled correctly. If this is inaccurate, there could be data on your report from someone else with the same name. Likewise, double-check all your information, including your address, birthday, employer data and Social Security number. If you do find an error in your credit report, write, don’t email or call, the credit reporting company. While the three credit reporting companies, Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion, offer the option to dispute errors online or by phone, most experts recommend mailing a certified letter, so you have documentation in case your dispute isn’t resolved. In the letter, you should explain what the error is, include photocopies of any documents that support your claim, and ask them to correct the error. You can also include a copy of your report with the error highlighted. Make sure to keep copies of your letter and all documents. Lastly, keep in mind that through the three credit bureaus you are entitled to a free report every year. Therefore, you should request a free credit report from one bureau each quarter to monitor your credit score.
Identity Theft: Identity theft occurs when someone uses your name, Social Security number, date of birth, or other identifying information, without your permission to commit fraud. There are several steps you can take to protect your credit and identity. These are just a few:
Missed or Late Payments: Everyone can be a little forgetful, so if you find you’re having a hard time remembering to make credit card payments, this could affect your credit score. Making credit card payments on time is the fastest way you can enhance your FICO score. If you miss any payments, you will see your score drop rapidly. If you have trouble remembering to make payments, try setting up a calendar reminder on your computer/social device. Every little reminder will help. You might also want to consider setting up automatic payments but be careful not to overdraw your account.
Overspending: Using a credit card is a fast and easy payment method, but if you are not cautious, you could sink into debt before long. It is important to recognize that credit is not free money and must be paid back. Your credit score will reflect the negative impact of having a lot of unpaid debt. The best way to avoid this situation is to curb your spending as much as possible. You don’t want to completely stop using your credit card, but if you create a budget, have a little self-control, and can afford to make larger payments towards your debt, you can improve the state of your credit.
Closing Old Credit Card Accounts: Closing old accounts can lower your credit score. Account history is an important factor of your credit score. Your mortgage lender will be able to see your financial responsibility throughout time, so the older the account is the better. Even if you pay off a credit card, you’re usually better off keeping that card open.
New Accounts: While you are trying to repair your credit score, don’t open any new credit card accounts or make any large purchases. It is best to focus on the accounts you have. It may be tempting to open a new department store credit card to receive a discount, but it may impact your credit negatively if you can’t afford to make the payments. If you really believe you should get one of these credit cards, review your financial plan and determine if you can truly manage the cost.
Achieving your dream of homeownership is possible, it just might take a bit of time and effort. Having good credit will make that dream more financially attainable.
If you have any questions about credit, mortgages, or the homebuying process, contact one of our licensed Mortgage Loan Originators. If you are ready to begin the process, click here to get started!