Simple Real Estate Definitions:FICO

FICO is a generic name for 'credit score'

Back in the "Good Old Days" the basis of lending was often the knowledge the local banker had of you and your family and your work history.

As the mortgage business grew , there needed to be a more universal method of determining who to give loans to. Today the basis of most mortgage lending is credit scoring. In general, the higher a person's credit score, the lower his offered mortgage interest rate.

Despite the many credit scoring models in use today, however, just 3 are relevant to American homeowners:

  • The Equifax BEACON® score
  • The Experian Fair Isaac Risk Model
  • The TransUnion EMPIRICA®

Generically, these scoring models generate what are commonly known as "FICO" scores.

FICO scores are measurements of probability. The higher a person's credit score, by definition, the less likely a person is to default on his home loan. This is one reason why credit scoring has added importance lately -- mortgage lenders are very careful about what they're lending and to whom.

Notably, minimum FICO thresholds have been added to all types of mortgage loans.

FICO scoring has 5 main components as listed above. Payment history and credit capacity are two of the largest pieces, but a myriad of other factors contribute to a credit score, too. For example, the longer your reported history of managing credit, the more favorably your credit score will respond.

The website does a terrific job with credit education, explaining in plain language the ins-and-out of credit scoring and ways to boost your score. It also makes a free, 20-page PDF available for download.

Whether you're a homeowner or lifetime renter -- consider it required reading. You may be surprised what you can do to make your score better!

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