Understanding Your Credit Score

What Is A Credit Score?

When lenders evaluate a loan application, a process called underwriting, they try to evaluate your ability and willingness to repay the loan. They judge the borrower’s ability to repay by reviewing the income and stability of past earnings. This practice helps the lender to determine if the borrower can afford the loan payments. The review of past credit history is used to judge the willingness of the borrower to repay the loan.

Lenders want their evaluation to be as accurate, objective and consistent as possible. To help achieve this goal, home mortgage lenders use credit scores to assist in the underwriting process. Credit scores are numerical values that rank individuals according to their credit history at a given point in time. A credit score is based on past payment history, the amount of available credit, and other factors. According to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, two large investors in mortgage loans, credit scores have proven to be very good predictors of whether a borrower will repay his or her loan.

Credit scores are just one of many factors considered in the underwriting process. The lender will review the many components that make up the financial situation of a borrower. Even when a credit score is low, there are other factors that could overcome the negative credit issues and satisfy other underwriting criteria.

What is a FICO Score?

“FICO” scores are a type of credit score developed by Fair Isaac & Company. FICO scores use credit bureau information to obtain a score which indicates how likely someone is to pay their loan payments on time. FICO scores range from approximately 350 to 900. The higher the score, the lower the probability of default on the loan.

Examining Your Credit History

HomeMarke encourages you to view your credit report yourself, prior to the lender’s viewing of it, by contacting one or all three of the major credit reporting companies: Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion. All you have to do is request it. Once you receive it, check the “high credit limit,” “total loan,” and “past due” columns. It is a good idea to get copies from all three companies to assure there are no mistakes since any of the three could be providing a report to your lender. Fees, ranging from $5-$30, are usually charged to issue credit reports.

Credit reporting companies:

You can also get a copy of your credit history at the following online locations:

www.freecreditreport.com

www.creditreports.com

What if I find a mistake in my credit history? You can correct simple mistakes by writing to the reporting company, pointing out the error, and providing proof of the mistake. You can also request to have your own comments added to explain problems. For example, if you made a payment late due to illness, explain that for the record.

How Can Credit Scores Affect the Price of the Loan?

Just as credit scores are one factor in determining loan qualification, they may also be a factor in determining the price of the loan. The price of a loan means the interest rate and the points charged by the lender. The price charged for a loan will be higher or lower depending on various factors.

Credit scores are used in determining the price of a loan because they are believed to be good predictors of a borrower’s ability and willingness to repay the loan. Therefore, applicants with lower credit scores may pay higher prices for their loans because of the higher risk of default and loss on the loan. Many home loans are sold to investors, and investors will pay a more favorable price for loans they feel have a low risk of default.

There are many other factors relating to an individual borrower’s situation that may also affect the price of a loan, often even more than credit scores. These include the type of property securing the loan, the amount of the borrower’s equity in the property, the value of the property compared to property value in the area, the lender’s cost to make the loan and the type of loan selected. For example, a loan secured by a single family residence may have a lower price than a loan secured by a condominium because condominiums may be more difficult to sell than single family residences. Similarly, the price of a loan for which the borrower has made a 20% down payment may be less than a loan for which the borrower has made a 5% down payment because the first borrower has more equity in the property and, thus, a greater incentive to make the payments of the loan.

HomeMarke Agency Representation

For most of us, buying a home is the biggest single investment we’re likely to make – and we’re only likely to do it maybe once or twice in a lifetime. The process is, by nature, filled with checks and balances – and many complex details.

HomeMarke has two types of agency representation that we offer buyers:

1) HomeMarke Buyers Agent
2) HomeMarke Transaction Broker Agent

A buyer’s agent represents you, the buyer, not the seller, and has full fiduciary duties, including loyalty to you. By definition, the buyer’s agent has your best interests in mind throughout the transaction. The percentage of homebuyers with buyer representation has grown significantly in the past decade. According to a recent National Association of Realtors® survey, nearly half (46%) of home buyers used the services of a buyer’s agent last year, and four out of every five buyer’s agent agreements were in writing.

The benefits of buyer representation is the dedication of a buyer’s agent to the home buyer. The buyer’s agent and homebuyer establish a mutual agreement, known as a buyer agency agreement, that will entitle the homebuyer to, but is not limited by:

Loyalty The real estate agent must act in the best interest of the buyer.

Disclosure All material facts such as relationships between agent and other parties, existence of other offers, status of earnest money, seller’s financial condition, property’s true worth, commission split with other brokers, and legal effect of important contract provisions.

Confidentiality Any discussions, facts, or information that should not be revealed to others but does not include responsibility of fairness and honesty in dealings with all parties.

Accounting in dealings Reporting of where any money placed in the hands of the broker is kept.

Reasonable Skill and Care Arriving at a reasonable purchase price and advising the buyer of such, affirmatively discovering material facts and disclosing them to the buyer, investigating the material facts related to the sale. With a buyer agency, the interests of the homebuyer will be represented in the purchase of the home. This scenario is different from a typical transaction where the buyer is not technically represented.

Meanwhile, the most common form of agency is HomeMarke’s Transaction Broker Agent.  Unless you actually sign a Buyer/Agent agreement , this is the type of agency that should expect from a Real Estate agent unless they are working specifically as a Seller’s Agent.