How to Improve Your Credit Score

Part of the mortgage qualification process involves credit score. Loan programs have minimum credit score guidelines, and your credit can affect the interest rate you are able to obtain. An ideal situation will have a strong credit score, but we realize that every borrower has unique circumstances. Getting your credit back together takes a combination of new accounts and time. Below is a step-by-step guide for improving your credit score.


[Read our guide about minimum credit guidelines for loan qualification]

Get 5 New Trade Lines

New credit is essential.  You must get 3-4 new revolving accounts (credit cards) and 1-2 installment accounts (personal, car or similar loan).

If you are having trouble with getting new cards or loans, get secured financing.  Local Banks offer secured loans where you put money in a savings account, say $3,000 and then you get a personal loan for $3,000.  The interest rate is about 0.5% to 1%.  When the loan funds, you then have your $3,000 back.  Each monthly payment you make reduced the balance and unencumbers the savings.  At the end of 36 months your will have a great credit score.


Minimum FICO credit score guidelines

VA Loan – 560

FHA Loan – 550

USDA Loan – 560

Conforming – 580

Never Close a Revolving Credit Account

The older and more trade lines you have the better.

Refinance Your Car

A car loan is also a great thing for rebuilding credit.  If you don’t have a car loan, refinance a car for a low loan amount and make payments for 12-24 months.  This has an expense of course, but it is very effective at building credit.

Review Your Credit Report

Make sure the items reported on your credit report are accurate.  For example, when you go through bankruptcy, banks feel burned and sometimes they will leave accounts showing past due or in collection.  Make sure that everything discharged is listed as such.

Use The Cards You Have

Keep all of your credit cards in use, but never let the balance exceed 35 percent of the available credit limit.  The key here is new credit, which is used correctly and never late.

Use Someone Else for Help

This is a cool trick.  Have your Mom (or another relative or friend) add you to a credit card that she has had for a long time as an co-borrower, this gets you a retroactive reporting from day one of that account opening as if it were yours all along, this will boost your score.

Opt Out

Visit and complete the opt-out process.  This makes it illegal for anyone to check your credit without your knowledge; as crazy as it sounds, banks do “soft-pulls” on your credit often and you can’t see it, but it hurts your score.  The opt out will also really reduce junk mail and solicitations.

Stop Checking Your Credit

After you get this plan established, don’t run your credit unless it is absolutely necessary.  Inquiries lower your credit score.

Step 1. Get Pre-Approved.

How Does Pre-Approval Work?

Getting pre-approved is as easy as 1-2-3!

1. Create an Account

Creating an account is fast, easy, secure and FREE! Your account enables you to easily modify your loan application and view the status of your loan anytime day or night.

2. Submit Information

When you register for a Loan Center account, you can submit a loan application online and the sensitive information that you provide will be transmitted securely.

3. Get Pre-Approved

Kick your feet up while we crunch the numbers. Pre-approval can be done very quickly if you provide a complete and accurate loan application and supporting documentation.

You have questions? We have answers.
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