Gregory Murphy & Cathy Ferrone - WEICHERT, REALTORS® - Briarwood Real Estate



Posted by Gregory Murphy & Cathy Ferrone on 3/7/2019

If you are thinking of buying a home in the near future, there’s one three-digit number that could be oh so important to you. That number is your credit score. Read on to find out how a credit score can affect you and the steps you can take to be sure that your credit is in good standing when you head to apply for a mortgage. 


What Is A Credit Score?


Your credit score is checked by lenders of all kinds. Every time you apply for a loan or a credit card, there’s a good chance that your credit score is being pulled to see if you qualify for the loan. Your credit score is calculated based on the information on your credit report. This information includes:


Payment history

Debt-to-credit ratio

Length of credit history

New credit accounts opened


The areas with the most impact on your score is your payment history and your debt-to-credit ratio. This means that on-time payments are super important. You also don’t want to get anywhere close to maxing out your credit cards or loan amounts to keep your score up. 


What’s A Good Score?


If you’re aiming for the perfect credit score, it’s 850. Most consumers won’t reach that state of perfection. That’s, OK because you don’t have to be perfect to buy a house. If your score is 740 and above, know that you’re in great shape to get a mortgage. Even if your score is below 740 but around 700 or above, you’ll be able to get a good interest rate on your mortgage. Most lenders typically look for a score of 620 and above. Keep in mind that the higher your credit score the better your interest rate will be.    



What If You Lack Credit History?


Most people should get a credit card around age 20 in order to begin building credit. You can still qualify for a mortgage without a credit history, but it will be considerably harder. Lenders may look at things like your rent payments or car payments. Lenders want to know that you’re a responsible person to lend to. 


What If Your Score Needs Help?


It doesn’t mean you’re a hopeless case if you lack good credit. Everything from errors on your credit report to missed payments can be fixed. The most important thing that you can do if you’re buying a home in the near future is to be mindful of your credit. Keep an eye on your credit report and continue to make timely payments. With a bit of focus, you’ll be well on your way to securing a mortgage for the home of your dreams.        






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Posted by Gregory Murphy & Cathy Ferrone on 6/28/2018

Your credit score is one of the most important numbers to your financial picture. You know how important it is to have a high credit score. If you pay your bills on time and keep your debt down, you think that your score will be just fine, but this isn’t always the case. There are a few hidden mistakes that you could be making that are bringing your credit score down. Read on to find out what to avoid when trying to keep your credit score up and maintain it. 


Too Many Credit Inquiries


Beware that every time you apply for a new loan or even just check on what type of interest rate you can get, your credit will be reviewed. You want to avoid too many credit inquiries because a high number will bring your credit score down. Always ask if a lender is pulling a hard inquiry to check your score, don’t allow too many of these credit checks. 


Anything Small Can Make A Big Impact


Was there a mistake on a medical bill that you paid but it says it was unpaid? If you let this go, your credit score could be impacted. Even unreturned library books that have been turned over to collections can negatively affect your score. Stay on top of things because you never know how a small mishap can affect you.


Your Information Is Wrong


You should look at your credit report so that you can see more than just your history. You can see the information that is being reported to check for mistakes. Incorrect information can bring your credit score down. You can call the credit bureau that’s associated with any errors that you see on your credit report. It can be a little bit of a process to correct the mistakes on your credit report, but the time and effort is definitely worth it for your credit score.                       



Not Using your Credit


While using your credit too much is a problem, not making use of your credit at all can be a problem. Responsibly use your credit. Open a credit card and use it to make small purchases. Charge only things that you can afford and pay the balance off each month. This simple use of a card is one of the easiest ways to establish credit.      


It’s important to do what you can to develop and maintain a healthy credit score. Keep all of your avenues covered to be sure that nothing hidden can negatively affect your credit score. 





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Posted by Gregory Murphy & Cathy Ferrone on 5/25/2017

If you’re hoping to buy a home in the near future, there are a number of financial factors you’ll need to consider.

One of the factors that all lenders will consider when determining whether or not to approve you for a mortgage is credit score.

In this article, we’ll lay out the minimum and ideal credit scores that are needed for getting approved for a home loan.

Determining Your Score

As you may guess, credit reporting is a complicated business. There are three main reporting companies that lenders use to determine your credit: Experian, TransUnion, and Equifax. These companies largely collect the same data about your finances, but can have minor variations. Lenders will take these scores and use the median or middle score to determine your credit rating.

Thanks to the Fair Credit Reporting Act, Americans have the ability to confirm the accuracy of their reports.

If you want to find your credit score, there are a number of online reporting agencies that will show you your report for free on an annual or monthly basis.

Minimum credit scores

Depending on the type of loan you’re applying for and which lender you are pursuing, minimum credit scores vary.

For those seeking first-time homeowner (FHA) loans, you’ll need a credit score of at least 580 to qualify for a 3.5% down payment. A score lower than this amount and you will need to put at least 10% down.

Since FHA loans are insured by the government, you are more likely to be approved if you have a low or “poor” or “bad” credit score (usually anywhere from 300 to 650).

Another type of loan that could help people with low credit is offered by the Department of Veteran’s Affairs. These loans, known as VA loans, are guaranteed, in part, by the government. However, the loans are still approved and distributed by lenders who all have varying minimum credit requirements. A good benchmark is that you’ll need a score of at least 620 to be approved.

Minimum isn’t ideal

While you may get approved for a loan with a low credit, this isn’t always a reason to celebrate.

Lenders use your credit score, among other things, to help determine the interest rate of your loan. A lower score often means a higher interest rate.

While 1 or 2 percent can seem like a small number, it can mean paying tens of thousands of dollars more in interest over the span of a thirty-year loan.

To illustrate the importance of one percent, consider the following. If you owe $200,000 on a home and intend to pay it over 30 years, you will pay $103,000 in interest at 3% and $143,000 at 4% - that’s a difference of $40,000.

Rather than shooting for the minimum credit score, a better approach would be to build credit while saving for a down payment. Someone with a credit score of 740 or higher will be seen by most mortgage lenders as an ideal person to lend to.

Of course, life doesn’t always allow for the ideal situation. So, do your best to save and build credit, and be sure to shop around for the best rates when you’re ready.





Posted by Gregory Murphy & Cathy Ferrone on 5/4/2017

If you have seen your latest credit score and feel like you’re less than financially fit, don’t fret. There’s plenty of reasons why people end up with bad credit. There’s also plenty of things that you can do to amend and work with your bad credit. 


The Factors


Mortgage lenders look at a variety of factors when it comes to your credit and determining if you’re ready for a home loan. These include:


  • Age of credit
  • Payment history
  • Amount of credit debt


If you have opened new accounts frequently or ran up credit card balances without paying them down, these behaviors could negatively affect your credit score. 


Changing Your Habits


Just changing one of these bad habits can help your credit score in a positive way. This also means that a bad credit score doesn’t equal not being able to get a home loan. Your home loan may just come at a higher price. 


What If You’re Turned Down For A Loan?


You can ask your lender why you’re unable to get a loan. Some possible reasons that you’re getting rejected:


  • Missed credit card payments
  • Failure to pay a loan
  • Bankruptcy
  • Overdue taxes
  • Seeking a loan outside of what you can afford
  • Legal judgements
  • Collection agencies


If you have defaulted on a loan, missed payments or filed for bankruptcy, chances are that you’ll have trouble securing a home loan. Other factors that can affect your credit score include negative legal judgements that have affected your credit, or having a collection agency after you. 


How To Fix It


If you have bad credit, it’s not the end of the world. It’s possible that lenders can give you a loan if your credit score isn’t too low. You could, however, face higher interest rates as a penalty for a low credit score. This is due to the fact that you’re more likely to default on a loan based on your risk factors. 


You can improve your credit score by:


Keeping existing accounts open

Refraining from opening new accounts

Trying not to approach too many lenders to find the right interest rate. Every time you get a credit check, it affects your score. 


Finding A Loan


Signs of bad credit can take awhile to disappear from your credit report. Sometimes, you have the opportunity to explain to lenders what these factors are in detail so you can secure the loan. There are even mortgage companies that assist you through the loan process to give you a boost in getting the loan.


FHA Loans


FHA loans are a great program option especially for people with bad credit. These loans offer low down payment options and have lower credit score standards. FHA loans have been helping people to secure their first homes since 1934.


If you have bad credit, the dream of home ownership is still possible. If you’re early in the process, get to work and keep that credit score up so that when you head out to apply for a loan, you’ll be able to secure it.         




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Posted by Gregory Murphy & Cathy Ferrone on 9/3/2015

When you are looking to buy a home or refinance it is important that your credit is in tip-top shape. It is often a credit score that gets in the way of a home buyer and their dream home. Credit today means everything as far as your purchasing power. So if you want to be ready when opportunity knocks read on for some for smart ideas on how to keep your credit score going up.

1. Use your credit cards.

This may sound funny but it is important to have credit over having no credit. Paying in cash and over using credit cards isn’t always a good move for your credit score. Cards that are seldom used are often shut down or closed by the credit card companies. Because 30 percent of your credit score is based on your debt-to-credit-limit ratio you will want to have a high your total available credit. Having one account closed increases that ratio of available credit to debt and thus lowers your credit score.

2. Pay off your credit cards.

It may seem to make sense to pay off the highest-interest card first and save the most money in the end. But your credit score will get a bigger boost from knocking off the lowest-balance card. Instead of spreading your monthly payments equally among credit cards, pay down the lowest-balance card first and pay minimum balances on the rest. As you pay off each card, apply the money you would have paid on it to the next-lowest-balance card.

3. Don’t close cards once they are paid off.

The length of time you’ve had credit determines fifteen percent of your score. By closing your oldest account, you can shorten the length of your credit history causing a big hit to your score.

4. Keep the balance low

Much of your credit score is determined by your debt-to-credit-limit ratio on individual accounts. Maxing out one card raises your debt-to-credit-limit ratio and your credit score. So be sure to keep balances as low as possible. Try to target no more than 30 percent of your credit limit.

5. Stay away from retail-card accounts.

These are a big no-no. Retail store cards often have lower limits and higher interest rates. So running up balances on low-limit store cards affects your credit score more negatively than does using one or two bank cards. So in the long run the fifteen percent you were going to save on the one purchase will probably cost you more in the end.  







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