In last weeks article I suggested that your credit score can greatly affect your real estate investment property’s cash flow. Today as a follow-up, we’ll go over 7 simple tips and 5 secrets to help increase your credit score.
7 Simple Tricks:
1. Always, always, pay your bills on time. Late payments and collections can have serious consequences on your credit score. Your payment history is a major factor as it represents 35% of your credit score.
2. Do not apply for credit too frequently. This will decrease your credit score because this is a characteristic of high credit risk groups.
3. Keep your credit-card balances low. If you’re “maxed” out on your credit cards, this will affect your credit score negatively. A good rule of thumb I’ve heard several times is to keep your credit card balances at or below 25% of your credit limits.
4. Fix any mistakes you have with the major credit bureaus right away because it can take time and have significant impacts. This entails getting in touch with the lender to verify that the information is accurate. If the lender can’t confirm or doesn’t respond, then the information is removed from your credit report. Also, if you have paperwork proving that the information on your account is false, send it to the credit bureaus and keep copies of everything.
5. Hang on to your old card because the credit bureaus reward loyalty. 15% of your credit score is based on the length of your credit history, and that includes the age of your oldest account as well as the average age of all your accounts. In other words, lenders want customers who will stay around and not move their accounts to whoever has the lowest current introductory offer.
6.Don’t bother to close accounts that have had missed payments or have had collections. Open or closed, they will be part of your past credit history for some time.
7. Being self employed is not good for your credit rating, fortunately you can plan ahead (as described in the 5 Secrets section). Many lending institutions, especially banks, won’t even look at you if you’re self-employed. If you plan on being self-employed consider a corporation because you can be “employed” by the corporation, however please note that even with a corporation it generally takes at least 2-3 years of consistent income before most lending institutions are ready to talk to you again.
1. For credit cards that are “maxed” out or have balances above the 25% rule of thumb, and you have no way of reducing the balance, fortunately there are other means to bring their ratios to more preferred levels. Remember that although the rule of thumb is to have no more than 25% of the maximum balance on credit, it doesn’t state just how much that 25% amount is in real dollars. Therefore another option is to increase your maximum balance. So for example, if you have a $1000 credit card and you owe $500 on it (a 50% ratio), then if you increase the balance to $2000, your ratio is now a preferred 25%! Just remember not to use the card anymore otherwise you will lose that preferred ratio.
2. Every time you do request a loan and the lender pulls your credit report, it generally reduces your score by a few points. It is part of the credit score formula to handle people trying to apply for credit and loans to live beyond their means. As another general rule, keep your loan processes within two-week periods so that all of the credit report lookups are bundled together to appear as one single request (such as trying to achieve the best rate for a mortgage).
3. Avoid using credit card introductory offers if you can. They might help you in the short run financially, or get you out of difficult debt, but as a long term solution they will most likely hurt you. Lenders want to acquire customers that are loyal because there is a cost associated for each loan. They would rather lend money to someone who is very likely to stay than someone who has a very unlikely to stay and move their money over at the next good looking introductory offer.
4. If you have little or no credit score, a quick way to bring up your credit score is to acquire debt. If you don’t pay off any debt, then how can you show that you’re a good borrower? Acquire some debt and pay it off. I’ve seen too many people looking to get their first mortgage denied simply because they’ve never acquired any previous debt before. They’ve paid everything in cash and they’re very proud, which they should be! However, you still need to establish a track record before someone will loan you bigger amounts, such as a mortgage. You need to prove your trustworthiness. Buy a car with a loan, get a credit card, get a personal loan, and basically establish some track record. At a bare minimum, borrow at least a few times before you go looking for larger loans.
5. For those of you looking to be self-employed, it’s crucial that you get all the loans you’ll need for at least 3 years now, probably even longer. Once you become self-employed it will be extremely difficult if not impossible for several years, therefore be prepared. Now I’m not saying use it, all I’m saying is that you get it. Increase the maximum on your credit card, get that line of credit, etc. Prepare for inflation, for future needs, etc. To use the cliché, an ounce of preparation is worth a pound of cure.
Related Article: A Lesser Known Secret Tip to Increase Your Credit Score