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FICO® Score - a Brief Explanation

When you apply for a mortgage loan, you expect your lender to pull a credit report and look at whether you’ve made your payments on time. What you may not expect is that they seem to be more interested in your FICO® score.

“What’s a FICO® score?” is a common reaction.

Each time your credit report is pulled, it is run through a computer program with a built-in scorecard. Points are awarded or deducted based on certain items such as how long you have had credit cards, whether you make your payments on time, if your credit balances are near maximum, and assorted other variables. When the credit report prints in your lender’s office, the total score is displayed. Your score can be anywhere between the high 300’s and the low 850’s.

Lenders wanted to determine if there was any relationship between these credit scores and whether borrowers made their payments on time, so they did a study. The study showed that borrowers with scores above 680 almost always made their payments on time. Borrowers with scores below 600 seemed fairly certain to develop problems.

As a result, credit scoring became a more important factor in approving mortgage loans. Credit scores also made it easier to develop artificial intelligence computer programs that could make a “yes” decision for loans that should obviously be approved. Nowadays, a computer and not a person may have actually approved your mortgage.

In short, lower credit scores require a more thorough review than higher scores. Often, mortgage lenders will not even consider a score below 600.

Some of the things that affect your FICO score are:

  • Delinquencies
  • Too many accounts opened within the last twelve months
  • Short credit history
  • Balances on revolving credit are near the maximum limits
  • Public records, such as tax liens, judgments, or bankruptcies
  • No recent credit card balances
  • Too many recent credit inquiries
  • Too few revolving accounts
  • Too many revolving accounts

FICO® actually stands for Fair Isaac and Company, which is the company used by the Experian (formerly TRW) credit bureau to calculate credit scores. Trans-Union and Equifax are two other credit bureaus who also provide credit scores.

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Faye Hunter, Broker
Century 21, The Hunter Group

114 South Main Street
Statesboro, GA 30458-1475
Phone: 912-489-5750
Email: fayehunter@realtor.com

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I was very pleased with Jessica in every way. After our first meeting she started right away with selling my mom's house. I didn't have to worry about one thing. Jessica is an excellent agent. She is very personable but professional. I live out-of-state but she kept me well informed. She has a great personality. Jessica showed that she has morals and values which are valuable traits to me. I would definitely recommend her to anyone. The sale was very quick. You are very fortunate to have Jessica working for you. The process from beginning to end went very smoothly. Thanks to Jessica. Vicky Click,Southport, NC April 27, 2018
When you have a very patient friend who is also your real estate agent, you are doubly blessed! This entire process of prepping to sell and selling Mom's house was made much easier thanks to your guidance and patience - again, the "p" word. From letting me know what to expect, to determining what "fair" means, and all the other minute in between. I relied on your experience and advice. You did not once let me down. Thanks for not only being the trusted consummate professional, but for being a great family friend. Best always, Marianna Marianna Voiselle, February 6, 2018
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