February 14th, 2018 9:43 AM by Michele Morse Reen
You may have checked your credit score once or twice over time as you applied for credit cards, loans, or even new jobs. But have you thought about it much since then? As you reach the point of thinking about homeownership, it’s important to learn about your credit. Your credit score is an important piece of obtaining a home loan. We can help you by sharing some common credit mistakes to avoid.
Your credit score is calculated by credit reporting agencies. The most common credit score used is the “FICO®” score, and helps lenders determine how much risk they will be taking on when they loan money to you.
Avoiding common credit mistakes is important whether you’re already a homeowner and may need a new home loan or refinance down the road or whether you’re just starting to consider making a home purchase. You can start improving your credit several months in advance of needing a home loan - it’s never too early to begin. But even avoiding credit mistakes as you are starting to look for your dream home will help.
Here are some common credit mistakes that consumers make which result in lower credit scores:
Falling behind on credit card payments. Late payments will lower your credit score. Make it a priority to stay current on all accounts.
Maxing out credit cards and accounts. The higher amount of available credit you are using, the more it will negatively impact your score. Aim for using no more than 30% of your available credit at any given moment.
Closing out credit accounts. While closing out your unused credit accounts may seem like a good idea, it decreases the amount of available credit, which then increases your debt percentage. Keep accounts open but with no balance, if possible.
Consolidating debt to one card or account. By moving your balances to one card, it can make that card appear to have too high of a ratio of debt to available credit. Keep percentage of debt to total balance on each card as low as possible.
Opening too many accounts in a short time. Applying for or opening too many credit accounts in a short period of time is considered a red flag and may negatively affect your credit score. Only apply for what you really need and try to space out applications over time.
Avoiding these common credit mistakes can help you improve your credit score and be prepared when you are ready to purchase a home.
We are happy to provide plenty of resources for you when you’re looking at and trying to understand your credit score. Be sure to check out our blog posts about credit scores:
How Your Credit Score is Calculated
How Can I Get My Credit Score?
Credit Score: Here's What You Should Know When Buying a Home
What is a Good Credit Score?
Top 5 Questions to Understanding Your Credit Score
The Ins and Outs of a Credit Score
4 Tips to Help Improve Your Credit Score Long-term
What Credit Score is Needed to Buy a House
Avoiding common credit mistakes will help you keep up or improve your credit score whether you’re ready to buy your home now or considering it further down the road. As you prepare to start the homeownership journey, check in with our helpful loan advisors who will walk you through the steps you need to take.
Note: American Pacific Mortgage Corporation is not a credit repair company; this information is for information purposes only. We are not licensed credit repair specialists or counselors.