Rosemarie Clancy, Editor-in-chief of Credit-Land, asked Zillow's Director of Mortgage Business, Erin Lantz, about mortgages and credit scores. Here's the scoop.
- When was Zillow launched, and what was the vision for the site?
Zillow launched in beta in early 2006 with a vision of transforming the way consumers make home-related decisions and connect with professionals.
- When did you introduce a finance blog on the site, and what does it cover?
On average, consumers purchase a new home every 5-7 years, and it is easy to forget some of the details of getting a mortgage or how your credit score impacts your mortgage payment amount
. This is one reason we created a finance portion of the Zillow Blog —to help educate consumers about home finance-related decisions.
- How does my credit score impact my ability to get a mortgage?
Your credit score has a direct impact on your ability to get a mortgage and the mortgage rate you will be offered. Most lenders are not willing to lend to those with a credit score of less than 640, while the best rates are generally offered to those with scores of 740 or above.
- How will a mortgage inquiry affect my score?
Too many inquires spread over more than 45 days may have a negative impact on your score. Typically, multiple inquiries within 30 days or less are cumulatively viewed by the credit bureaus as just one inquiry per month. This allows home shoppers to spend 30 days shopping for their mortgages without worrying about multiple hits on their credit scores.
- Should I apply for a credit card before I plan to apply for a mortgage?
No. Do not change anything about your financial profile in the months leading up to refinancing or getting a new mortgage.
- If I've been turned down for a mortgage, how can I build up my credit so I can be more successful next time?
The best things you can do to boost your credit score and increase your appeal to mortgage lenders include paying bills on time, checking your credit report for inaccuracies that may be resolved and aiming to use less than half of your available credit. It also helps to be able to demonstrate a history of different types of credit lines in good standing.