Here are some tips to help you understand and boost your FICO score --
What number should you aim for?
FICO scores range from 300 to 850. The median score is 723. Many lenders require a score of 760 or higher to get the best interest rates.
How does your FICO affect the interest rate you would get on a loan?
Having a score of 760 or higher will get you the best (lowest) interest rate. Having a low score, in the 630-639 range, will mean a higher interest rate resulting in a few hundred dollars more a month on a mortgage. A good score can also reduce your premiums for auto, homeowner's insurance and private mortgage insurance.
How can you improve your score?
- PAY YOUR BILLS ON TIME
- Keep the balance on your cards below 25% of your available credit
- Don't open up too many lines of credit within a short period of time
- Pay more than the minimum amount on credit cards monthly
- Use credit conservatively
Should old unused accounts be closed?
No. This may hurt your score due to the utilization ratio. Owing $7,000 will look a lot better when you have a $25,000 maximum on all your credit cards, which is a utilization ratio of 28%, than it does when you have a credit limit on all cards of $15,000, which is a 46% ratio.
Can those old unpaid parking tickets hurt?
Yes. Municipalities are using collection agencies to track down unpaid fees. If an account goes into collection, it can destroy your credit score by dropping your FICO score 100 points!
Barbara Altieri, REALTOR®
Certified Short Sales Specialist
Real Estate Sales and Services
203-656-4993 x 29