Fast Ways to Improve Your Credit Score Before Applying for Your Mortgage
Your FICO credit score plays a key role in your ability to apply for a low interest mortgage. The higher your credit score, the more lenders are able to offer you a competitive rate on your loan. For those who are looking at buying a new home, it’s important to prioritize fixing your credit score in order to ensure that you receive the best rate possible.
How to Boost Your Credit Score Fast
Many of the factors that play a role in your credit score are difficult to fix overnight. For example, an estimated 35% of your credit score is based on making regular, on time payments. 15% is based on length of credit history. These are factors that are difficult to change overnight.
But there are other components to your credit score that can be improved right away, and making these changes can have an immediate, noticeable impact on your overall credit. These include:
- Pay Off As Much As Possible – The first step is always to pay off as much of your credit card debt as you can. The more debt you have, the more it affects your credit score. It is important to try to have a low credit-utilization percentage, which is the amount of debt you own compared to how much you have available.
- Request Higher Credit Limits – Of course, we would all pay down our debt if we were financially capable. That is why, if you don’t have enough saved to pay down your credit card debt, consider requesting higher limits instead. Doing so automatically lowers your credit utilization percentage. Many credit card companies are willing to raise the credit limit of those who have reliably paid their cards on time.
- Pay Faster and More Often – Although the effect is small, timing can be an issue with FICO scores. Your credit use is reported to the credit bureaus once per month. If it is sent to before you officially make your monthly payment, it can cause you to have more debt on paper than you really carry. This is especially important for those who tend to charge a lot on their card, and just pay it off at the end of the month. Try to keep your balance as close to 0 as possible.
- Balance Your Cards – In addition to credit utilization as a whole, lenders also look at utilization of each card. Let’s say you have two $10,000 credit cards. It is better to carry $5,000 on each than $10,000 on one and $0 on the other. Balancing it out can be beneficial. However, you still need to be able to manage your debt and pay it down as best you can. If one card has a lower interest rate, or you find that it is easier to manage only one monthly payment, then ignore this rule.
- Add Yourself as a Joint User on a $0 Balance Card – Let’s say you have a spouse with a credit card that carries a $0 balance and does not use the card. If that spouse adds you as a joint credit card user, the card’s credit limit automatically gets added to your credit score as well, decreasing your utilization percentage and improving your credit score.
These ideas can help you boost your FICO score quickly, in advance of your mortgage application. While there is no quick fix that can make up for bankruptcy, missed payments, and collections on your account, these small changes have the potential to boost a credit score fast in advance of your loan application.
For more information about what you can do to get a better rate, call to speak to one of our loan originators today.