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Chrisman's Corner: Stating the Obvious, Good Credit Is Important in Lending

JMAC’s brokers know that credit, collateral, and character are of the utmost importance in the lending decision. Unfortunately for many people of sterling character, in this day of automation and decision making, credit and collateral have more focus on them, and have become purely a numbers game. Our brokers see that one of the biggest issues facing homebuyers today is problems with their credit scores. Available loan products and interest rates will vary significantly with a person’s credit score, and brokers spend a fair amount of time working with borrowers to make sure that their credit score are as high as it can be.

Borrowers are told to make their mortgage payment on time and in no event later than the 30th day of the month. Even one 30 day late mortgage in a year can drop a credit score by 40-50 points and make one ineligible for certain mortgage products. Borrowers should not allow their credit card balances to go above 50% of their maximum credit limits, ideally (for credit score purposes) keeping the balances at 25% of the credit limits.

Experienced brokers tell borrowers that all minor medical bills should be paid once the insurance company has finalized the person’s share of the bill. Disputed charges are often less than $200, but a Collection Account on a credit report can reduce a credit score by 20-100 points.

JMAC brokers advise borrowers, whether it is a purchase or a refinance, to not take out new debt during the mortgage process without consultation. This includes car loans, credit cards, etc., and also includes co-signing a loan for a friend or relative. (Co-signing, from a legal perspective, is the same as signing.) Nor should they have too many institutions run their credit report as each credit pull will reduce a credit score by about 5 points.

Many people are involved in the home loan process and lending decision, and it is in everyone’s best interest to keep credit scores as high as possible.