Everyone wants to improve their credit score, but it’s especially important when you’re applying for a large loan like a mortgage. So as a lender, we wanted to give you a couple of tips to follow to help you improve your credit score before you start shopping for a new home.
Improve Your Credit | 5 Quick Steps
- Don’t try to wipe old debt off of your credit report. You’ve paid off some debt – that’s awesome! But sometimes people think it’s a good idea to try to get older, paid-off debts erased from their report. Hold the phone! Good debt that you’ve paid off and handled well shows lenders that you could handle a home loan too. Think of it like a good grade on your report card.
- Avoid opening lots of credit cards at once. Every time someone pulls your credit, it affects your credit score. So opening a new card (even getting a department store credit card… Christmas shoppers be aware!) will show up on your credit report – and the more inquiries you have in a short period of time, the more it lowers your credit score. Fewer inquiries, and more spread out, leads to better credit.
- Don’t close a lot of credit cards at once. Lenders generally look for you to be using 30% or less of your credit, so having a lot of credit available to you doesn’t actually hurt you – but closing a bunch of your cards could move you from using under 30% to well over 30%. It’s generally a good rule of thumb to KEEP the credit card you’ve had the longest, and only close a line of credit after it’s been open a year or two, even if you are no longer using it. This shows steadiness to any creditor, instead of bouncing around.
- Don’t be late. If you have been over 30 days late to make a mortgage payment, you may have to wait a whole year to refinance or purchase.
- Check your debt to income ratio. As a rule of thumb, try to keep your debt under 50% of your income. Not sure what that is or how to measure it? Check out our blog here.
Armed with a little knowledge of how the system works, anyone can take simple steps that can dramatically improve their credit score. We hope this gives you a few facts that help you out. Ultimately, it comes down to just being aware of what you’re spending, your deadlines and the overarching “report card” grading system – so no matter where you are at, you can improve your credit. Have some questions? Feel free to give us a call. We’re a Christian Mortgage Lender that’s faith-based and family oriented – just like you. We’d love to help.
The Christian Mortgage Mom