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If you’re planning to buy a home in Des Moines in the future, chances are you know the importance of your credit score when it comes to getting a mortgage. For prospective buyers, this number can pose some major challenges to the lending process if it’s not where they need it to be. So, if you know you’re going to be buying soon, it’s important to check in on your credit score and take whatever steps you can to raise it. While you may not be able to boost it overnight, with consistent effort, you can make significant changes. Here are some strategies that can help:
Check Your Credit Report
Many of us are so focused on our score, we don’t investigate where it’s coming from. Especially if your score seems lower than you’d expect, it’s important to get a copy of your credit report to ensure there are no errors you need to dispute. Even if you’re not questioning your score, this is a good habit for people to get into to make sure that nothing slips under the radar.
Late payments can sabotage your credit score. If possible, setting up automated bill payments can be an instant fix. Things get busy, and sometimes a bill slips our mind. Having automated payments set up means that your bills will get paid, even if you forget their due dates. For payments you’re not able to automate, setting up a reminder schedule on your phone can help you stay on track. While one late payment here and there might not seem like a big deal, over time, these things can take a toll on your score.
Create a Strategy to Pay Off Debt
Another common culprit of a low credit score is debt. With so many potential homebuyers entering the process with some amount of debt, this is definitely an area you’ll want to focus on if possible. Be strategic about how you pay down your debt. See which accounts have the highest interest rates, and direct any excess funds at those balances. Again, if you’re able to automate payments, that’s a great way to stick to a schedule.
Monitor Your Credit Utilization Ratio
Your credit score isn’t the only number you need to be concerned with. Your credit utilization ratio plays a key role in determining your credit score, and prospective buyers will want to work to keep that ratio as low as possible. This number represents the amount of your available credit that you’re currently using. General recommendations suggest people try to keep it below 30%, but if you’re really striving to improve your score, 10% or less is a great goal.
Request Higher Credit Limits
There’s one more way buyers can change their credit utilization ratio. Of course, the best way is the one we just mentioned above, by paying down your balances and using as little of your available credit as possible. Another way buyers can try to improve this ratio is by requesting higher credit limits. You’ll likely need a decent credit score to up your credit limit, so this won’t work for everyone, but if your score is fairly good and you’re simply wanting to bump it up a few points, this strategy could work.
If you’re planning to buy in Des Moines, you’ll want to invest in getting your credit score to a good place. Though it does take some work, it’s possible for prospective buyers to give their score a boost. Do you have any other strategies for improving your credit score? Please share them with us!