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One of the most important facets of buying a home when applying for a mortgage is your credit score. With a low score, it is impossible to get a loan with a good interest rate, if at all. So buyers need to guard and work on keeping their credit score as high as possible.

It is possible to raise it, though it may take some time. Here are some guidelines and information that will help you understand the complexity, and what to do to ensure you get a premium rate.

How Credit Scores Are Calculated

What makes a good credit score? What factors do credit reporting bureaus consider most when generating scores? Unless recent bankruptcies, collection accounts or outstanding tax payments are involved, the following criteria is generally accurate:

35% Payment History– Recent delinquencies bring scores down more than those in the past.

30% Balance– High balances over 75 percent of the available credit limit hurt credit scores. Small balances on multiple cards are more favorable than one maxed-out card.

15% Credit History– 3 to 5 lines of credit, and a loan with a long history is best.

10% Type of Credit– Furniture and appliances stores’ “pay later” credit lines are less favorable and considered higher risk.

10% Number of Inquiries– These cost 5 to 15 points off your credit score per inquiry. Mortgage inquiries don’t count as long as they are within 14 days of each other.

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