Saturday, February 23, 2008

The Hidden Influence of Credit on Mortgage Availability

Many people believe that having few, if any, credit cards and not having any debt is good for their credit…and they’re all wrong!

Credit scores do not improve unless you have credit accounts with some debt accumulated, with all of the required monthly payments paid on time. While it is true that you may not want to pay interest on any debts you may have, it is far better for your overall credit to have some debt instead of no debt.

The best credit scores come from consumers with established credit accounts, with a small portion of the available credit line in use. Your credit report is updated monthly with payment information on these accounts. If you make all your required minimum monthly payments on time, your credit score will rise.

The shorter the amount of time you’ve had accounts open, the larger the balances are on open accounts and any late payments can combine to negatively impact your credit score. If your total debt-to-income ratio is more than one-third of your monthly income, you may not even qualify for a mortgage loan

Never having used any credit may result in a mortgage loan disqualification also, simply because there is no repayment information to base your creditworthiness on.

Your credit score will directly influence the availability of mortgage loans with acceptable rate. The closer your credit score slips toward subprime territory, the more interest and fees you’ll likely end up paying for your loan. The difference between a standard mortgage and a subprime mortgage can make the difference in hundreds of dollars a month tacked onto a mortgage payment.

How you use your credit today will determine the mortgage opportunities that are present tomorrow. Use your credit wisely and the sky’s the limit. Use it poorly and mortgage opportunities will pass you by.

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