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Ruth Mills Team


San Diego Realtor
Ruth Mills
858.459.9109

Welcome to the Ruth Mills Team website FAQ section, where we try to answer some of the questions most asked by our clients. If the information to the right does not provide a satisfactory answer to your question,
Contact Us and we will search for a better answer.

More Frequently Asked Questions

Real Estate 101

What is FICO score?

In today's increasingly automated society, it should come as no surprise that when you apply for a mortgage, your ability to pay can be reduced to a single number. All the years you've been paying your mortgage, car payments, and credit card bills can be analyzed, sliced, diced, spindled and mutilated into a single indicator of whether you're likely to meet your future obligations. All three of the major credit reporting agencies (Equifax, Experian and TransUnion) use a slightly different system to arrive at a score. The best known is called the FICO score, based on a model developed by Fair Isaac and Company (hence the name) and used by Experian. Equifax's model is called BEACON, while TransUnion uses EMPIRICA. While each of the models considers a range of data available in your credit report, the primary factors are:

  • Credit History:
    How long have you had credit?
  • Payment History:
    Do you pay your bills on time?
  • Credit Card Balances:
    How much do you owe on how many accounts?
  • Credit Inquiries:
    How many times have you had your credit checked?
  • Information on other consumer debt such as car loans, furniture loans, student loans and retail credit cards.
  • Balance sheets and tax returns, if you are self-employed.

Each of these, and other items, are assigned a value and a weight. The results are added up and distilled into a single number. FICO scores range from 300 to 800, with higher being better. Typical home buyers likely find their scores falling between 600 and 800.

FICO scores are used for more than just determining whether or not you qualify for a mortgage. Higher scores indicate you are a better credit risk, and thus may qualify for a better mortgage rate.

What can I do to raise my FICO score?

Unfortunately, there's not much of anything you can do to immediately boost your credit score. Since the score is based on a lifetime of credit history, it is difficult to make a significant change in the number with quick fixes. The most important thing is to know your FICO score and to ensure that your credit history is correct. Conveniently, Fair Isaac has created a web site myFICO.com that let's you do just that. For a reasonable fee, you can quickly get your FICO score from all three reporting agencies, along with your credit report. Also available is some helpful information and tools that help you analyze what actions might have the greatest impact on your FICO score. Each of the credit services offers similar services on their web sites: Equifax.com, Experian.com, and Transunion.com

Armed with this information, you will be a more informed consumer and better positioned to obtain the most favorable mortgage available to you.



This information is provided as a service. As every situation varies, it is strongly advised to seek counsel from independent tax advisors, tax attorneys, and/or CPAs.