Understanding and Managing Credit for your New Utah Home (Part 1)

Written by  Travis Sabin Monday, 19 March 2012 12:45
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Before looking for a new home for sale in Utah (or Utah townhomes for sale) you will need to evaluate your credit.  Your credit will determine if your lender will finance your mortgage and at what interest rate.  At 1 Utah Homes, we want you to understand credit so that you can confidently purchase your Salt Lake City, Utah home with the lowest interest rate possible.

To understand your credit, you need to understand credit reports and credit scores.

Credit Reports

Your credit report is a very detailed document that contains your personal information (age, social security number, residencies, employment history, etc.) and your credit history (annual income, current job, bank accounts, credit cards).

The 3 main credit-reporting companies in the U.S. are:
1.     Equifax
2.     Experian
3.     Transunion
You are entitled to 1 free credit report from EACH company EVERY year.  To obtain your free credit reports, go to: www.annualcreditreport.com.

You should review your free annual credit report each year to ensure accuracy.  If there is incorrect information you may authorize an investigation from the above companies and/or type up to 100 words on your credit report to explain the inaccurate information.

Credit Score

Your credit score is determined by your credit reports.  There are several companies that will provide you with your credit score (including the above 3) for a small fee.  However, each company determines your score on slightly different criteria.  Because most lending institutions look at your FICO credit scores, we will explain how FICO determines credit scores.

You can receive your FICO credit score by going to: www.myfico.com.  You should obtain your credit score ONCE EVERY 2 YEARS or before acquiring a major loan.  

FICO determines your credit score with 5 categories:

1.     Payment record (35%).  It’s important that you are paying off your credit cards and other bills ON TIME.

2.     Amount you owe DIVIDED BY your available credit (30%).  For example, if you have a credit card with a limit of $1,000, but on average you owe $200, you have used 20% of your available credit. ($200/$1000 = 20%) It’s wise to keep this total below 15%. The lower this percentage, the higher your credit scores, so PAY OFF YOUR CREDIT CARDS!

3.     Credit History (15%).  If you can, keep your oldest lines of credit open. This shows you’ve learned how to manage credit over a long period of time and increases your credit score.

4.     Application History (10%).  Don’t apply for credit too often (be cautious of department stores that offer discounts to entice you to open a credit card with them).  This will lower your credit score.

5.     Credit Mix (10%).  If all of your lines of credit are for department stores, your credit score will be lower.  Diversify your lines of credit.



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