Do you dream of a day when you can stop paying rent on a home that doesn't belong to you? Are you trying to get your finances in order so you can purchase your dream home sooner rather than later? If you are not ready to purchase a home right now but want to get a headstart and make the eventual home-buying process more successful, let's talk about your credit score.
Planning ahead to ensure that your credit is in good standing before you apply for a mortgage is a good way to acquire a better rate from the lender and will most likely save you money throughout the term of the mortgage. And that is a good thing!
Here are a few tips to help you boost your credit score while you prepare to buy a home.
1. Get the balance down. The number one way to increase your credit score is to pay down the credit cards you are currently using. Consumer credit cards seem to have a greater impact on your credit score than even student loans, lines of credit and car loans.
2. Pay All Your Bills On Time. Any late or delinquent payments on your utility and phone bills can have a negative impact on your credit score.
3. Keep the balance at zero. Carrying a large balance on consumer credit can actually hurt your score, even if you are paying the monthly instalments. Any balance outstanding on your credit card statement will affect your score, the formulas used for determining the credit score don't take into account the fact that you may have paid the entire bill off the following month.
4. Watch your credit limits. If you have had the credit limit raised on your account, make sure that it is not too high. The temptation to keep spending because you are still within the limit can hurt you in the long run. Also, if you have cards that allow you access to large credit amounts, it may look to lenders like you are carrying to much potential debt.
5. Keep using old credit accounts. Older credit shows the length of time you have been keeping up good credit payments. If you are not using the credit cards you have had for a long time, the company may not continue to update your account and therefore, the fact that you have good standing with them may not be considered in the credit rating formula. Use the cards periodically and of course, get them paid off quickly.
6. Check Your Report. Know exactly what is on your credit report, and see what lenders will see when you apply for a mortgage. Make sure that any errors are taken care of right away. Each of the nationwide credit reporting companies — Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion — is required to provide you with a free copy of your credit report once every 12 months. You can request it, by visiting annualcreditreport.com, or call 1-877-322-8228.