In our latest video podcast, Paul shares 9 tips to cleaning up and repairing your credit so that you can purchase a home either as your primary residence or investment (rental) property. Usually, when you purchase an investment home, most lenders require a credit score of 680 or higher. We break down the credit scores in our own opinion of what is good and not so good as follows: Below 620 = Not So Great 620-700 = Okay, Room for Improvement 700+ = Excellent Credit Now, if you're trying to improve your credit score, here are the 9 tips that we give: 1) Pay all of your bills on time. The most obvious but can be the hardest to do. You want to pay all of them on time but if you had to choose-- always pay the revolving debts first and on time; i.e. credit cards, car loans, rent or mortgage payment, etc. These can affect your credit score the most. 2) Avoid companies that offer assistance for a fee. They are not all bad, but usually you'll find yourself paying a fee for someone to tell them to pay their bills on time. Many of these change-your-credit-overnight gimmicks are just that. Use the fee that you would pay them to pay down on a credit card; you will be way ahead. 3) Have your monthly payments auto-deducted from your bank account. Out of sight, out of mind. Having auto-deduct makes sure you are never late and you learn to live off of what is left over. Besides, it will save you a stamp. 4) Consolidate your high interest credit cards to one with a lower rate. High interest rate loans will be the death of us all. Try to lump balances together and look hard for a lower rate. Sometimes you have to dig a little, but it can save you a ton of money. 5) Watch your credit lines on your current cards. The higher available credit limit you have, it could result in a lower score. If other areas of your credit are weak, just the fact that you have the ability to pull thousands off of a credit card can weaken your score. So, have your limit lowered to only what you really need. It can always be increased later. 6) Establish new credit. A gas card. A department store card. Some of these types of cards are easier to obtain and have modest credit limits, like $250 or so. However, these types will help your score as long as you pay on time. 7) Avoid a lot of credit inquiries. Trying to apply for any type credit puts an "inquiry" on your credit report even if you are not approved. Too many of these inquiries gives the impression that you may be trying to borrow more than you can afford. Therefore, this can hurt your score. An occasional inquiry is no big deal, but applying for 10 credit cards in a month will hurt. 8) Use your head and stay focused. Cancel any unused credit cards. Pay off lower balances and use the additional money to put towards higher loans. If you stay the course and keep everything current, your score will improve. It will take time and there is no quick fix, but you can do it! 9) Check your credit again in 6-12 months to see signs of improvement. About every 6 months, credit scores seem to be updated. Partly due to when the credit companies report about your activity. However, if you are late, they are quick to report and it will destroy you immediately. So, you will probably begin to see improvement in about 6 months but it could take at least a year depending on how low your score is. It will take time, but clearly worth the effort. Then when you are ready to purchase a home, then contact us and we'll get you on the right track. If you have questions, don't hesitate to e-mail!
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