Pixel Tracker

Monday, January 21 , 2019, 4:40 am | Fair and Breezy 53º


Elaine Abercrombie: Lower Rates with a Higher Score

For the best deal on a mortgage, first take steps to raise your credit rating

Elaine Abercrombie
Elaine Abercrombie (Roe Anne White photo)

Lenders are an increasingly difficult crowd to please, so if you’re looking for the best deal on a mortgage, you need a couple of strategies to improve your credit score.

Lenders use that number to determine your risk of default, and it may be the single most important factor in your application.

Scores range anywhere from a very risky 300 to a perfect 850. You’ll need a 750 today to get terms a 700 would have gotten you two years ago.

Begin with a $16 investment at MyFICO.com, where your three reports from Experian, Equifax and TransUnion are averaged into one representative score.

A Zogby poll reports that one-third of all people who request a credit report find errors. Your score is only as accurate as your information, so scour your report and correct errors immediately. This could boost your score by as much as 200 points!

The largest percentage of your score is determined by your payment histories, but the second largest factor is your “card utilization rate,” or your total balances compared with your total credit limits. Ten percent is the ideal number (such as $2,500 in charges when you have a $25,000 line of credit).

If you correct errors, have an excellent payment history and get your debt-to-credit ratio down, you can expect to save thousands with a lower interest rate on your mortgage.

Elaine Abercrombie, a broker with Abercrombie Fine Homes at Village Properties, is president of the Santa Barbara Association of Realtors. She can be contacted at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

Support Noozhawk Today

You are an important ally in our mission to deliver clear, objective, high-quality professional news reporting for Santa Barbara, Goleta and the rest of Santa Barbara County. Join the Hawks Club today to help keep Noozhawk soaring.

We offer four membership levels: $5 a month, $10 a month, $25 a month or $1 a week. Payments can be made using a credit card, Apple Pay or Google Pay, or click here for information on recurring credit-card payments and a mailing address for checks.

Thank you for your vital support.

Become a Noozhawk Supporter

First name
Last name
Select your monthly membership
Or choose an annual membership

Payment Information

Membership Subscription

You are enrolling in . Thank you for joining the Hawks Club.

Payment Method

Pay by Credit Card:

Mastercard, Visa, American Express, Discover
One click only, please!

Pay with Apple Pay or Google Pay:

Noozhawk partners with Stripe to provide secure invoicing and payments processing.
You may cancel your membership at any time by sending an email to .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

  • Ask
  • Vote
  • Investigate
  • Answer

Noozhawk Asks: What’s Your Question?

Welcome to Noozhawk Asks, a new feature in which you ask the questions, you help decide what Noozhawk investigates, and you work with us to find the answers.

Here’s how it works: You share your questions with us in the nearby box. In some cases, we may work with you to find the answers. In others, we may ask you to vote on your top choices to help us narrow the scope. And we’ll be regularly asking you for your feedback on a specific issue or topic.

We also expect to work together with the reader who asked the winning questions to find the answer together. Noozhawk’s objective is to come at questions from a place of curiosity and openness, and we believe a transparent collaboration is the key to achieve it.

The results of our investigation will be published here in this Noozhawk Asks section. Once or twice a month, we plan to do a review of what was asked and answered.

Thanks for asking!

Click Here to Get Started >

Reader Comments

Noozhawk is no longer accepting reader comments on our articles. Click here for the announcement. Readers are instead invited to submit letters to the editor by emailing them to [email protected]. Please provide your full name and community, as well as contact information for verification purposes only.