April 8th, 2016 5:47 AM by Jackie A. Graves, President
To most of us, a credit score
seems like a random trio of numbers determined by a complicated algorithm, but
it represents much more to a lender who’s considering whether to approve your
mortgage loan. A low credit score can indicate you’re a risky borrower, while a
high score can significantly upgrade the mortgage terms you’re offered.
considering making the leap to homeownership, there’s more to think about than
the curb appeal of those Springfield, IL, homes for sale— the
health of your credit score tops the list. But even if your score teeters on
the edge of dismal, there are steps you can take to speed up the credit
repair process and
improve your chances of landing a home with manageable loan terms.
What’s the minimum credit score for a mortgage?
The minimum credit score required to receive a loan depends in large part on
the type of loan you’re considering. FHA loans have
some of the lowest credit score requirements, at 580 with a 3.5% down payment.
However, that doesn’t take other applicants out of the running; FHA lenders allow lower scores with a down payment of 10% or more. Veterans Affairs
(VA) loans are a bit trickier. While the VA doesn’t have a minimum
credit score requirement, VA lenders do — and that number varies by lender.
Some lenders require a score of 620, while others might be at 640. The good
news? Getting a “no” from one lender doesn’t mean you’re out of luck. For
conventional loans, most lenders will look for at least a 620 credit score,
according to Chris Hauber, a mortgage loan originator with Hallmark Home
Mortgage in Denver, CO. Ideally, however, applicants would need to have a 660
credit score to land a better rate and avoid jumping through additional hoops.
What is a good credit score?
approval for a mortgage, the range your credit score falls within can
drastically change the interest rate you can lock down — and the amount you’ll
pay in private mortgage insurance (PMI), if
applicable. For instance, the approximate difference in rates for a
conventional loan with a 680 credit score versus a 740-plus credit score could
be 0.25% to 0.0375%, Hauber says. But the PMI premium in this scenario would
you’re over 740, you’re considered to be in the ‘perfect’ range for mortgages,”
adds Hauber. “If you put less than 20% down, however, you’ll need PMI. For PMI,
the high bracket in terms of credit score is 760-plus — meaning you’ll pay less
in monthly premiums with this score or higher.” In simple terms, a credit
score below 700 is likely to be considered “fair” in the world of mortgages.
The perfect credit score would be 760 or higher, unless you’re able to put down
20% and skip the PMI, in which case a score of 740 or more would suffice.
How to improve your credit score
Whether your score is too low to secure a mortgage or you’d rather use
available funds to fix your financial
situation (instead of
putting it toward a larger down payment), there are steps you can take today to
start improving your credit score right away. Many credit score problems
are the result of a high credit utilization ratio, according to Hauber.
(“Credit utilization ratio” refers to debt that is high in comparison to the
credit available.) Many experts use the 30% rule of thumb: Charges to your
credit card shouldn’t exceed 30% of your available credit limit. It’s
important, because this factor alone comprises 30% of your credit score. One of
the easiest ways to improve your score is to pay down credit card
debt, keeping this ratio in mind.
Another huge factor in the health of your credit score is your payment history,
or your ability to make on-time payments to your creditors. If you see a recent
late payment on your report, one solution is to talk to the creditor and ask
for a deletion. While this likely won’t work for a serial late-payer, it could
be granted for a one-time offender. If the creditor agrees to the deletion,
they will send a letter to the credit bureau requesting that the negative
information be removed from your report.
these fixes normally take a month or two to be reflected in your credit score, your lender can speed up the process
by doing a rapid rescore. This requires gathering up pertinent documents to
show the changes made — like a new credit card statement or letter of deletion
— and using the lender’s credit company to request an updated score from the
credit bureaus. This could lead to an updated score in days instead of months,
which can make all the difference when you’re trying to get preapproved for a
home loan in a competitive market.
Provided by a Contributor of
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