Most people applying for a home mortgage need not worry about the effects of their credit history during the mortgage process. However you can be better prepared if you get a copy of your credit report before you apply for your mortgage. That way, you can take steps to correct any negatives before making your application.
A Credit Profile refers to a consumer credit file, which is made up of various consumer credit reporting agencies. It is a picture of how you paid back the companies you have borrowed money from, or how you have met other financial obligations. There are five categories of information on a credit profile:
• Identifying Information
• Employment Information
• Credit Information
• Public Record Information
NOT included on your credit profile is race, religion, health, driving record, criminal record, political preference, or income.
If you have had credit problems, be prepared to discuss them honestly with a mortgage professional who will assist you in writing your “Letter of Explanation.” Knowledgeable mortgage professionals know there can be legitimate reasons for credit problems, such as unemployment, illness or other financial difficulties. If you had problems that have been corrected (reestablishment of credit), and your payments have been on time for a year or more, your credit may be considered satisfactory.
The mortgage industry tends to create its own language and credit rating is no different. BC mortgage lending gets its name from the grading of one’s credit based on such things as payment history, amount of debt payments, bankruptcies, equity position, credit scores, etc. Credit scoring is a statistical method of assessing the credit risk of a mortgage application. The score looks at the following items: past delinquencies, derogatory payment behavior, current debt levels, length of credit history, types of credit and number of inquires.
By now, most people have heard of credit scoring. The most common score (now the most common terminology for credit scoring) is called the FICO score. This score was developed by Fair, Isaac & Company, Inc. for the three main credit Bureaus; Equifax (Beacon), Experian (formerly TRW), and Empirica (TransUnion).
FICO scores are simply repository scores meaning they ONLY consider the information contained in a person’s credit file. They DO NOT consider a persons income, savings or down payment amount. Credit scores are based on five factors: 35% of the score is based on payment history, 30% on the amount owed, 15% on how long you’ve had credit, 10% percent on new credit being sought and 10% on the types of credit you have. The scores are useful in directing applications to specific loan programs and to set levels of underwriting such as Streamline, Traditional or Second Review, but are not the final word regarding the type of program you will qualify for or your interest rate.
As of July 1st 2001, California consumers now have access to their credit scores. Prior to this new law consumers could only get their credit scores if they were denied a loan. Want to know your score? Log on to www.myfico.comand/or www.equifax.com.
Many people in the mortgage business are skeptical about the accuracy of FICO scores. Scoring has only been an integral part of the mortgage process for the past few years (since 1999); however, the FICO scores have been used since the late 1950’s by retail merchants, credit card companies, insurance companies and banks for consumer lending. The data from large scoring projects, such as large mortgage portfolios, demonstrate their predictive quality and that the scores do work.