Before you apply for a mortgage, you will want to ensure that your credit is in the best possible shape. While you may still be able to qualify for a home loan without perfect credit, you will pay for it in the long run thanks to interest fees and other less-than-ideal rates. It’s in your best interests to work on building up your credit before applying for the loan to ensure you get the best possible deal when it comes time to borrow. Here are a few suggestions for improving your credit score:
1.) Understand where you’re starting.
It’s hard to improve your credit score if you don’t know what it is to begin with. You are entitled to a free credit report each year through services such as AnnualCreditReport.com. This will allow you to review your credit history for any mistakes or problems. Repairing those mistakes can instantly bump up your credit score. Reviewing your credit history can also help you find problem areas so you know which issue to tackle first.
2.) Abolish Debt.
If you have multiple lines of credit active at a given time, you will be penalized. Credit scores are calculated based on the amount owed versus the total amount available to you. This means that the more you owe, the less you are qualified to borrow. Start with your smallest debts, like low-limit consumer credit cards, and work on paying them off completely. Not only will paying off these debts improve your credit score, it will also put more money in your bank each month that can go toward your home. When you pay off a credit card or other debt, be sure to talk to the lender to ensure that it is reported to the credit bureaus as quickly as possible so that it can be reflected in your credit report.
3.) Pay Down Everything Else.
Even if you can’t abolish all debts, pay down the balance on everything you have. Also pay attention to your credit limits. If you qualify for a limit increase, request one. This will make your balance smaller relative to your credit limit, which ultimately will affect your credit score in a positive way.
4.) Maintain Your Oldest Lines Of Credit.
When abolishing debts, try to keep your oldest accounts open. Having a long payment history toward a specific debt is a positive mark on your credit history. If you still have your first credit card from college and make regular payments on it, your credit will be in better shape than if you only have brand new lines of credit. If you don’t have any credit cards or other consumer debts, now is the time to apply for one. Try to get something with good terms and the highest possible credit limit, and remember that your goal is to never max out the card. Instead, make small routine purchases on the card and pay off the balance right away.
5.) Don’t Forget The Other Half.
Home mortgages are one thing that you can apply for jointly when you are married. Since most couples will be approaching the mortgage in this way, it’s important for both parties to have well-maintained credit. If your partner doesn’t work, he or she can still begin building his or her credit by using a secured credit card that reports to the credit bureaus.
Building your credit takes time, so it’s a good idea to get started as early as possible. By focusing on repairing or building your credit score now, you can save yourself a substantial amount of money in the future.