September 19, 2021

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Liz Weston: Will a FICO score of 788 give me the best mortgage loan rate?

Dear Lisa: I’ve been thinking about buying a home and I want to get a good deal on the mortgage. To do this, I worked to get my credit score high. I only have one credit card and it has been for less than two years. This credit card got my FICO score to 788. I’ve never had a loan. Would you recommend taking out a lender loan to try to increase my score and get a better mortgage deal? Or is 788 good enough?

Reply: Mortgage lenders typically use older versions of the FICO scoring formula. The resulting scores can be very different from the free scores you can find online, or even the FICO 8 or FICO 9 scores your banking and credit card companies may give you.

You can get your mortgage credit scores along with FICO scores used for auto loans and credit cards for $ 19.95 per credit bureau. receive MyFico.com. (Be sure to click the tab that says “One Time Reports” or you will be signing up for a subscription service.) Be sure to get the ratings of all three offices as mortgage lenders use the middle of the three numbers to determine your interest rate. For example, if your scores are 800, 740, and 720, the lender would use 740 to determine your interest rate and terms.

If the mean of your three mortgage scores is 740 or higher, you should get the best deal from a mortgage lender. If not, that MyFico.com Report should give you some pointers on how to get him higher.

Liz Weston, Certified Financial Planner, is a personal finance columnist for NerdWallet. Questions can be directed to them at 3940 Laurel Canyon, No. 238, Studio City, CA 91604, or via the “Contact Us” form at asklizweston.com.