Credit: Who Needs It? Why is it Important? How do you Establish it?

I’ve been receiving more and more inquiries from young potential Home Buyers as of late.  That’s reason for celebration, as I believe now is a great time to enter the housing market.  With home prices still affordable and interest rates so low, there truly is a golden opportunity for young Buyers.

But with the growing number of young Buyers, I am also seeing a larger number of hopeful clients with what is deemed as insufficient credit “histories”.  That Why is establishing credit importantcan mean several things, but typically the result is lower credit scores  or no credit scores forthese hopeful clients.

I also see this issue arise with individuals coming out of Bankruptcy, or for those that always pay cash for their purchases.

The bottomline is, if there are no open accounts of any kind for credit cards, installment loans, personal loans, or student loans, the  Credit Scoring System  has no way to judge their credit “worthiness”.  They simply have no spending orpayment history on which to base a credit score.

 So how do we proceed with a potential Home Buyer, should this be the case?

Establishing credit is not a difficult process.  In this day and age, credit is also vitally important, as credit runs our lives … or at minimum, affects it greatly.  Below are a few tips and clues I supply my hopeful  Home Buyers  when they wish to establish credit and a credit history:

 *  Open up a credit card (known as revolving debt) with amodest borrowing limit.  Major retailers and gasoline companies are two good examples of this type of debt.

*  Use the newly-established credit card by charging purchases within your budget constraints.  Pay the balance on time and in full each month.

       Note:  I recommend that first-time credit users open only one or two credit lines to begin with.  Take small steps.  Learn to handle your credit wisely.  Crawl before you walk. 

 If you do not pay off the balance in full each month, keep your credit card balance(s) below 50% of the credit limit.  (This is better for your credit.  Likewise, balances kept below 30% and 10% of the limit, raise the scores even more.)

*  Never close out old accounts, should you have them.  Keep them open, even if you do not plan on using them.  Remember, the longer you have had a credit profile or the longer the credit history, the better the scoring impact will be.

 Consider using a  co-signer  to establish a credit account.  Lenders consider the co-signer’s credit as existing credit.  (Note:  Co-signing is not without risk, so consider this action carefully.)

*  Always make sure prior to taking out new credit or initiating a new credit card, that the company utilized reports to the  Credit Bureaus

Should you be someone that suffered through a Bankruptcy or  Foreclosure … or had other credit issues, you might have been turned down for credit or credit cards.  In those cases, try opening a “secured” account with a credit union or credit card company.  A  “secured” account  is one where you deposit cash ($250, $500, $1,000) with the credit company, as collateral for a credit card.

Use the card as you would any other … paying it off in its entirety each month.  This creates a “timely payment history” and lays the groundwork to build credit scores.

If in doubt as to how to proceed in establishing or restoring your credit,  contact me  prior to taking action.  And as always,whether just beginning your pursuit of good credit and credit scores or as part of your ongoing efforts, monitor your credit and credit scores, either by visiting www.annualcreditreport.com  to receive your one FREE credit report per year (they report credit, but not credit scores) … or again, by  contacting me.  We’ll work together to establish … repair and improve … and monitor your credit safely and wisely.

 

Gene Mundt

I am a 30+ year veteran of the mortgage/banking industry, with extensive knowledge and experience in mortgage and credit services, management, and real estate appraising. I am also an IL Certified Financial Planner. This unique combination of education, experience, and expertise affords me more complete and in-depth resources from which to service my clients and their needs.

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Comments

  1. Great information for new or existing home owners looking to buy.

    Credit is so important!

  2. It is so important. People don’t think about it until they need it.

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