Your credit score is absolutely crucial when you are applying for a home mortgage loan because a low credit score will inevitably translate to paying higher interest rates. In fact, a low credit score may even prevent you from attaining a mortgage loan at all from certain lenders.
To learn your credit score, you should obtain reports from the three major credit agencies. Equifax, Experian and Transunion track your credit history based on reports they receive from your credit card, department store, auto loan, mortgage loan and other loan accounts. Check for any possible errors, and contact the credit agencies for corrections if you find any mistakes. You don’t want to lose out on acquiring your dream home because you found out too late that there is an error in your credit report, ultimately devastating your credit score.
The law requires the three credit agencies to provide one free report to you each year. Also check out www.creditkarma.com for a free credit report at any time.
You may find your FICO score at Fair Isaac’s MyFICO.com. Fair Isaac created the formula that the credit agencies use to calculate your credit score. The FICO score is used by 70 percent to 80 percent of mortgage lenders so it is important to be aware of this. FICO scores will range from 350 to 850. A 723 score is about the median. Lenders will generally start to offer better mortgage interest rates at around the 720 range.
Some lenders actually provide mortgage loans that do not require income verification. These loans are used by home buyers who do not have consistent income or who need to obtain a home loan quickly. However, it’s important to remember that a FICO score of at least 680 is usually needed for this type of loan.
Luckily, first-time buyers can obtain a Federal Housing Administration (FHA) loan generally with a score of about 630 or higher. FHA’s 2012 standards require a FICO score of at least 580 for a 3.5 percent down payment. Fortunately, new borrowers with a FICO score lower than 580 may still qualify for an FHA loan, however they will be obligated to make a down payment of at least 10 percent.