Credit scores are so important when you’re getting ready to purchase a home. This metric helps loan officers determine your interest rate and also which loan programs you qualify for. In this six part series were going to give you the information you need to know in order to raise your FICO® score and increase your ability to qualify for a home loan.
Part 1: Pay Your Bills on Time
One of the most important things to ensure a high credit score is to always pay your bills on time. When a creditor pulls a credit report and there are late payments listed, it shows the creditor that the person applying for the loan may be at a higher risk for defaulting on the loan.
If you have late payments it will significantly lower your your credit score. According to myFICO.com, 96% of consumers with an 800 credit score always pay their bills on time. This is compared to consumers with scores of 650 – over 68% of them have past due bills on their credit reports.
Here are some specific tips to help pay bills on-time:
1. Set up automatic billing systems
Setting up automatic bill payments from your checking account is a great way to ensure that your bills are paid on-time. Check with your bank to see if they offer an online bill pay option – you will be surprised how easy it is to follow a system like this once you get started.
2. Pay the minimum if that’s all you can afford
We love the advice of paying off your credit balances in full at the end of the month – but sometimes your budget doesn’t allow this. Make sure to at the very least pay the minimum balance required.
3. If you know you’re going to be late let your creditor know
Sometimes life makes it seem impossible to pay the bills on time. If you know you’re going to be late or miss a payment call the creditor and see if they can defer the payment – you may have to pay a penalty but at least the creditor shouldn’t report the late payment on your credit report.
Stay tuned for the next part of this series Minimize Your Credit Use.