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This is an excerpt from "The Essential Guide to Buying Your First Home," a free eBook to help get first time home buyers on the right track to buying that first house. Today we're exploring credit scores and "minimum credit scores" for buying a first home.
Securing a mortgage is one of the biggest transactions most people will ever enter into. Credit (and your FICO credit score) is very important when it comes to any loan, but it becomes paramount in something as long-term as a home mortgage loan.
In the aftermath of the credit crunch and the global recession, it is more important than ever to keep track of your credit score. Banks are more careful about extending credit, making a good credit score the foundation of major purchases like a new car or a first home. Frequent credit inquiries may negatively impact your credit score. A single inquiry linked to a request for credit can impact your score by as much as five points. Subsequent inquiries can also impact your score. Since home buyers need a good credit score to qualify for a mortgage, searching for mortgage pre-approval can be nerve-wracking.
What exactly is bad credit? Let's start with the lower end of generally accepted credit scores* for borrowers. If your credit score sits below the 600 mark, you'll have a difficult time getting a first time home buyer loan. As you inch towards a 620 FICO score, your "borrower risk" begins to fall in the eyes of most lenders. 640 and above and you're getting into the safe zone for most loan options. So, what does this mean for people with bad credit? It means it's time to work on bringing that FICO credit score up, up, up. Get our Road to Mortgage Ready Credit ebook here.
Financial issues can plague a family for years. When the husband has a gambling problem, the wife often pays for it. Wife with a shopping addiction? The husband's credit will suffer if she can't pay for it. Couples who work together on their portfolio enjoy success together. But they can also suffer together when one fails. This can affect your decision about getting a mortgage loan to buy your dream home. But all is not lost. A home buyer had this question recently, and we decided to explore it a bit.
Have we all been reduced to numbers in modern society? Maybe. Social security numbers, credit card numbers, driver license digits, phone numbers and credit scores. I'm sure there are other ways to identify us, too. But all of those numbers are enough to tell me that we're all a series of digits. It's the same for the first time home buyer. You're a number in a database for your real estate agent. You're a credit score to the banks. You're a phone number.
Here's a story relayed to us by one of our mortgage consultants. A hopeful home buyer calls him up and says, "I want to buy a house so I need a mortgage. My bank told me I need to improve my credit score, and I should pay off my collections on my credit report. I did, but my score didn't go up and they can't help me. What can you do for me?"