Blog Articles from Allegiant Mortgage, LLC

Sure, you’ve saved up for a down payment on a new house, but if you have average credit, you may have a hard time qualifying for a mortgage and buying the home of your dreams. The good news is, you can do a lot to improve your score before you apply. With these tips, you’ll have a much better chance of getting approved and locking in an affordable interest rate.

1. Pay off your credit cards

If you’re up to your ears in credit card debt, lenders will probably think twice before offering you a mortgage because both your credit utilization ratio and your debt-to-income ratio will be high. That’s why it’s a smart idea to start paying off those balances before sending out mortgage applications.

Make more than the minimum payments on your cards each month. Not only will this boost your credit score and lower your overall debt load, but it will also save you money on interest and show potential lenders that you’re serious about repaying what you borrowed.

2. Pull your credit reports and check for errors

Mistakes happen. And when they do, you don’t want to be the last person to know about them. Get free credit reports online from the three major credit bureaus, TransUnion, Equifax and Experian, and go through them line by line, checking for inaccuracies. If you come across an error, file a dispute as soon as possible.

Both Equifax and Experian have online dispute forms you can complete, and TransUnion has a form you can fill out and mail in. After submitting these forms, the credit bureau will contact the source, and the claim will be investigated within 30 days. You also have the option of sending a letter of dispute directly to the credit reporting companies with copies of supporting documentation. Remember to send these via certified mail to ensure the company receives your dispute.

3. Stop applying for new credit

If you’re moving into a new house, you may also be interested in getting a new car for your driveway and furniture to fill your rooms, but hold off on applying for new credit cards and auto loans until you’ve locked down that mortgage. You want your credit report to look as clean as possible when you send in your application, and many new inquiries may raise red flags for lenders.

Nerd note: While delaying the credit card applications could be a good call, it’s generally not a good idea to close all your paid-off cards at the same time. If you do this, your credit utilization ratio may go up and your credit history may appear shorter and less varied, which could also hurt your score. Instead, plan on keeping your accounts open, at least until your mortgage is approved.

4. Shop with purpose

Shop around for a mortgage with the best rates, but don’t let your search drag on. After about a month, your FICO score may start reflecting your applications as separate inquiries, which could ding your credit score. This could potentially be an even bigger problem if your lender uses the less common VantageScore or an older version of the FICO score, which consider mortgage applications as separate inquiries if they’re not within two weeks of each other. To stay on the safe side, keep your search focused and brief.

If possible, get pre-approved for a mortgage before even shopping for a house, so that if you do find the home of your dreams, you won’t have to worry about getting approved for a loan later.

5. Save aggressively

You’re focused on getting a mortgage now, but remember to protect your credit score after you’ve been approved. Once you make your down payment on your new house, your savings may take a hit and you may feel tempted to start relying on credit more heavily. In the short term, that may be OK, but making it a long-term habit could do some serious damage to your credit score.

If your savings account is dwindling, consider cutting back on fixed expenses and work toward saving six months’ worth of living expenses. This way, in case of an emergency, you won’t have to use your credit card as a crutch. By protecting your credit score, you’ll also have an easier time applying for mortgages and other credit lines down the road.


original post: www.nerdwallet.com

Posted by Rose Tignor on April 13th, 2016 2:15 PM
Everyone knows that the better your credit score is, the easier it is for you to get approved for a loan. These are a few ways you can build your credit score if it's on the lower side.

Article by: My Fico


How to repair my credit and improve my FICO Scores

It's important to note that repairing bad credit is a bit like losing weight: It takes time and there is no quick way to fix a credit score. In fact, out of all of the ways to improve a credit score, quick-fix efforts are the most likely to backfire, so beware of any advice that claims to improve your credit score fast. The best advice for rebuilding credit is to manage it responsibly over time. If you haven't done that, then you need to repair your credit history before you see credit score improvement. The tips below will help you do that. They are divided up into categories based on the data used to calculate your credit score.

3 Important Things You Can Do Right Now

  1. Check Your Credit Report – Credit score repair begins with your credit report. If you haven't already, request a free copy of your credit report and check it for errors. Your credit report contains the data used to calculate your score and it may contain errors. In particular, check to make sure that there are no late payments incorrectly listed for any of your accounts and that the amounts owed for each of your open accounts is correct. If you find errors on any of your reports, dispute them with the credit bureau. 

    Read more about Disputing Errors on Your Credit Report
  2. Setup Payment Reminders – Making your credit payments on time is one of the biggest contributing factors to your credit scores. Some banks offer payment reminders through their online banking portals that can send you an email or text message reminding you when a payment is due. You could also consider enrolling in automatic payments through your credit card and loan providers to have payments automatically debited from your bank account, but this only makes the minimum payment on your credit cards and does not help instill a sense of money management.
  3. Reduce the Amount of Debt You Owe – This is easier said than done, but reducing the amount that you owe is going to be a far more satisfying achievement than improving your credit score. The first thing you need to do is stop using your credit cards. Use your credit report to make a list of all of your accounts and then go online or check recent statements to determine how much you owe on each account and what interest rate they are charging you. Come up with a payment plan that puts most of your available budget for debt payments towards the highest interest cards first, while maintaining minimum payments on your other accounts.

More Tips on How to Fix a Credit Score & Maintain Good Credit

Payment History Tips

Contributing 35% to a FICO Score calculation, this category has the greatest effect on improving your scores, but past problems like missed or late payments are not easily fixed.

  • Pay your bills on time.
    Delinquent payments, even if only a few days late, and collections can have a major negative impact on your FICO Scores.
  • If you have missed payments, get current and stay current.
    The longer you pay your bills on time after being late, the more your FICO Scores should increase. Older credit problems count for less, so poor credit performance won't haunt you forever. The impact of past credit problems on your FICO Scores fades as time passes and as recent good payment patterns show up on your credit report. And good FICO Scores weigh any credit problems against the positive information that says you're managing your credit well.
  • Be aware that paying off a collection account will not remove it from your credit report.
    It will stay on your report for seven years.
  • If you are having trouble making ends meet, contact your creditors or see a legitimate credit counselor.
    This won't rebuild your credit score immediately, but if you can begin to manage your credit and pay on time, your score should increase over time. And seeking assistance from a credit counseling service will not hurt your FICO Scores.

Amounts Owed Tips

This category contributes 30% to a FICO Score's calculation and can be easier to clean up than payment history, but that requires financial discipline and understanding the tips below.

  • Keep balances low on credit cards and other "revolving credit".
    High outstanding debt can affect a credit score.
  • Pay off debt rather than moving it around.
    The most effective way to improve your credit scores in this area is by paying down your revolving (credit cards) debt. In fact, owing the same amount but having fewer open accounts may lower your scores.
  • Don't close unused credit cards as a short-term strategy to raise your scores.
  • Don't open a number of new credit cards that you don't need, just to increase your available credit.
    This approach could backfire and actually lower your credit scores.

Length of Credit History Tips

  • If you have been managing credit for a short time, don't open a lot of new accounts too rapidly.
    New accounts will lower your average account age, which will have a larger effect on your scores if you don't have a lot of other credit information. Also, rapid account buildup can look risky if you are a new credit user.

New Credit Tips

  • Do your rate shopping for a given loan within a focused period of time.
    FICO Scores distinguish between a search for a single loan and a search for many new credit lines, in part by the length of time over which inquiries occur.
  • Re-establish your credit history if you have had problems.
    Opening new accounts responsibly and paying them off on time will raise your credit score in the long term.
  • Note that it's OK to request and check your own credit report.
    This won't affect a score, as long as you order your credit report directly from the credit reporting agency or through an organization authorized to provide credit reports to consumers.

Types of Credit Use Tips

  • Apply for and open new credit accounts only as needed.
    Don't open accounts just to have a better credit mix – it probably won't raise your credit score.
  • Have credit cards – but manage them responsibly.
    In general, having credit cards and installment loans (and paying timely payments) will rebuild your credit scores. Someone with no credit cards, for example, tends to be higher risk than someone who has managed credit cards responsibly.
  • Note that closing an account doesn't make it go away.
    A closed account will still show up on your credit report, and may be considered by a score.

To summarize, "fixing" a credit score is more about fixing errors in your credit history (if they exist) and then following the guidelines above to maintain consistent, good credit history. Raising your scores after a poor mark on your report or building credit for the first time will take patience and discipline.


Posted in:credit scores and tagged: building your credit
Posted by Rose Tignor on February 18th, 2016 7:37 AM

Building your credit can help tremendously when trying to purchase a home. While we at Allegiant Home Loans do go down to a 580 FHA, it is always good to keep a high credit score. Here are some reasons why your credit is so important when it comes to making such a large purchase. 

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Why your credit is so important

Your credit history determines what loans you will qualify for and the interest rate you will pay. Lenders get your credit history by obtaining your credit score.

You’ll most likely need to borrow funds from a lender. This is why credit is such an important component to the home buying process.

What is a credit score?

A credit score provides an easy way for lenders to numerically judge your credit at a point in time. It gauges how likely you are to repay your loan in a timely manner. The better your history appears, the more attractive you become as a loan customer.

The lending industry follows these house-buying guidelines:

    • Better credit scores usually lead to better rates
    • Lower scores do not automatically disqualify you
    • As your credit information changes, your score changes

Do I need perfect credit?

Absolutely not. Lenders aren’t looking for consumers with “perfect credit.” If you feel you’re ready for homeownership, you may be continuing to rent unnecessarily instead of building equity in the home of your dreams. And the longer you put off buying a home, the longer it will take to build equity. It’s easy to apply for a loan. We have expert advice aimed specifically at first-time homebuyers.

Improving your Credit

There are several different ways you can improve your credit score. One way is through credit counseling or debt management agencies. These are “non-profit” companies that provide several different types of services.

Do I need credit counseling?

As with anything else in life, it’s nice to have someone guide us through the rough spots. That’s essentially what credit counseling is.

Credit counselors will work with both you and your lenders to find a fair resolution. Most lenders are willing to do this because they receive some of their owed money back in a timely fashion. As you improve your credit, your score will improve as well, which can widen your choice in homes.

How can I improve my credit score?

Some people need outside help, others don’t. Here are a few things you can do:

        • Cut back on unnecessary expenses
        • Apply the savings to paying off debts
        • Pay off and close multiple credit card accounts

Paying off your debts will generally improve your score within a few months. Keep this goal in mind and work toward it diligently.

Monitor Your Credit

Your credit score is a key determinant of the interest rates you’ll pay when borrowing money. Whether you have excellent, good, or poor credit, it’s important to monitor your credit situation.

Please consult with your attorney, financial consultant/planner, accountant, and/or tax advisor for advice concerning your particular circumstances. The information contained herein is for general informational and educational purposes only and should not be construed as professional, tax, financial or legal advice or a legal opinion on specific facts or circumstances. The information or opinions contained herein should not be construed by any consumer and/or prospective client as an offer to sell or the solicitation of an offer to buy any particular product or service.?
Posted by Rose Tignor on February 9th, 2016 9:04 AM

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