Credit scores are used whether you rent or buy, so it’s an important topic to understand! This is a series of blog posts specifically aimed at young adults or other first time home buyers.
Once we have a basic understanding of credit scores, the next step is to look into our own credit. First, a person should inspect their credit report at annualcreditreport.com. According to the Federal Trade Commission, “The Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) requires each of the nationwide credit reporting companies — Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion — to provide you with a free copy of your credit report, at your request, once every 12 months.” (https://www.consumer.ftc.gov/articles/0155-free-credit-reports)
It’s important to review your credit report periodically to make sure there are no errors negatively impacting your credit score.
Step two is to look up your credit score. One of the best free ways of checking your credit score is Creditkarma.com. This site will update your credit score each month, as well as break down how your score is calculated. I have personally used this site for a year (never having to enter a credit card number).
After inspecting their credit score, one might be wondering “Is my credit score good?” Creditkarma.com suggests that a score of 700 and above is generally considered good. Keep in mind, most home loans have a minimum credit score needed in order to qualify for the loan. For example the standard minimum for a 3.5% FHA loan is a 560 score, Conventional 3% loan is 620, and Rural Development is 600-640. Now there may be additional standards and fees due to your credit score, so it’s important to talk to a Mortgage Lender and get the specific facts based on your situation.