3 Popular Questions About Raising Your Credit Score

A good credit score translates into lower interest rates for home-shopping borrowers. In a mortgage lender's eyes, the higher your score, the less of a risk you are, and the more likely it is you will pay off your debt. For this reason, borrowers with lower scores usually end up paying higher interest rates on their loans.Part of our mission as YOUR Mortgage Experts is to keep you informed and educated, as well as give you tools to help you prepare to achieve your financial goals for home ownership. Below you will find beneficial credit tips that will help keep your credit scores where you need them. Below are a few suggestions to help you receive a favorable review from the underwriter.

Should I pay off all of my past due balances and charge-offs?
This is sometimes a good idea. However, DO NOT do anything on your credit until you have spoken to us and received an action plan.

Should I close existing credit card accounts that I don't really use?
No. Part of your credit score is based upon credit history. If you have old credit cards that you don't use very much, you still have the benefit of the credit history they represent.

Rather than trying to payoff all your credit cards, you can move part of the debt from one card to another to even out the distribution of debt. You want to try to keep the ratio of debt to credit limits at about 40% of the available credit or less. Your ratio is calculated by dividing the balance on the credit card by the credit limit.

[Example: $3,000 balance / $4,000 credit limit = 0.75 or 75% debt ratio]

If your credit provider will increase your line of credit, the ratio of debt to available credit is automatically reduced.

When married couples have separate credit card accounts, the debt can be transferred from one spouse to another to clear up credit issues for the other spouse. That spouse with clean credit can be designated as the sole borrower on the loan, but ownership of the home (i.e., warranty deed) can still go in both names. It is important, however, to not make any credit transfers during the loan process without speaking to us first.

What about errors on my credit report?
If you have items that are showing up on your credit report that you know you have already been paid, request that these items be removed by the credit bureau. They are obligated to rectify this within 30 days.

If there are items on your credit report that are less than two years old, you could send in your payment if possible and mark the back of the check with the following notation: "Accepting this check is evidence that the transaction is complete and this charge will be deleted from my credit record." If necessary, the cancelled check will be proof that this should be promptly removed from your credit report if it interferes with the closing of your loan.