• Home / 
  • Learn / 
  • Fix Your Credit Score To Buy a Home in 6 Months
Dan Green

Dan Green

Since 2003, Dan Green has been a leading mortgage lender and respected industry authority. His unwavering commitment to first-time home buyers and home buyer education has established him as a trusted voice among his colleagues, his peers, and the media. Dan founded Homebuyer.com to expand the American Dream of Homeownership to all who want it. .

Stylish Scandinavian Interior Of Living Room Where A Former Renter Fixed Credit To Buy A House. They Also Have A Beautiful Dog In Elegant Home Decor.

How We Make Money

Homebuyer.com is your trusted guide to homeownership. Since 2003, our team has offered real-world expertise and advice to tens of millions of U.S. home buyers. Our content stands on its integrity: it's factual, unbiased, and free from outside influences. Read our editorial guidelines.

Homebuyer.com is a mortgage-company-affiliated publisher. We earn compensation when you click specific links on the website, or apply for a mortgage with Homebuyer.com or a partner listed in our comparison tables. Our partners compensate us differently, so we randomize our tables to protect our readers from steering. We may also earn compensation for advertisements on the site, which are indicated clearly. Note that limitations in our software, whether we originate mortgages in your area, and credit factors may affect the offers and comparison tables you see on various parts of this site. We do not include offers for every mortgage product available. Someday, we hope we will.

Trusted Content

Trusted Content

This article was checked for accuracy as of January 22, 2024. Homebuyer.com ensures every piece of information we share reflects the latest in mortgage standards. Learn more about our commitments in our editorial guidelines.

Fix Your Credit Score To Buy a Home in 6 Months

You don’t need an excellent credit score to buy a home. You only need a qualifying credit score.

The most well-known way to fix your credit score is to pay down balances, make timely monthly payments, and then wait. However, when buying your first home, you may need to increase your credit score quickly, so here is how to fix your credit score in six months. 

Get Current With Your Bills

Why it works: Payment history makes up 35% of your credit score.

Payment history is your track record of paying back creditors, including lenders, lessors, and credit card companies. On-time payments are best, and an occasional 30-day late payment inflicts minimal damage. 60-days late or longer, and bills in collection are more damaging.

How to improve: Get current on your bills, then continue making on-time payments each month. After three months, you’ll notice your credit score improving. After six months, your score can recover almost in full. If you must prioritize, pay your minimum credit card payments, auto loans, and student loans first. Then, pay your entire credit card balance and other bills.

Raise Your Credit Limits & Reduce Your Credit Balance

Why it works: Amount owed is 30% of your credit score. 

The amount owed is how much credit you can use to how much credit you’re using. It’s a percentage – not a dollar amount. 

Using all of your available credit is known as being “maxed out.” The credit bureaus like consumers who use less than one-third of their available credit. Credit utilization over 50% can hurt your score.

How to improve: Higher limits reduce your credit utilization ratio. First, pay down your individual credit card balances until less than one-third of the available credit is used on each card.

Then call your credit card issuers and request an increase to your credit limit. When asked, decline the option to have your credit score checked as part of the increase and accept the new limit you’re offered.

Refrain From Opening New Credit Cards and Loan Accounts

Why it works: New credit is 10% of your credit score. 

New credit is the new accounts you or somebody else opened in your name. New credit includes auto loans and leases, student loan refinances, and credit cards. It also includes store charge cards that give 10% off at the register. The credit bureaus treat new credit negatively because it decreases users’ ability to pay other bills.

How to improve: Don’t use your social security number to apply for new credit in the months leading up to your home purchase. Pre-approvals are accepted as part of the home-buying process and have little impact on your score. New credit and store charge cards can be harmful.

Keep Existing Credit Accounts Open

Why it works: Consumer credit mix is 10% of your credit score.

Consumer credit mix is the collection of credit accounts that make up your credit history. Credit types include mortgages, auto loans, student loans, personal loans, and credit cards. The credit bureaus use your consumer credit mix to see how you manage different account types as part of your broader credit profile. You’ll naturally maintain a healthy credit mix by keeping your other accounts open.

How to improve: Your work isn’t over when you reduce a credit card balance to $0. Keep the credit line open, spend a small amount on it monthly, and pay the bill in full when the invoice arrives. 

With as little as $5 per month, you can force your creditor to tell the bureaus that you borrowed money and paid it back on time. This is better than closing the account and watching it wither or opening new accounts.

Fix Your Credit Report Errors

Why it works: Errors on your credit report can lower your score by 100 points or more.

According to a recent Consumer Reports study, one-third of U.S. consumers have errors in their credit reports which harm their credit scores. Credit report errors can link to criminal acts such as identity theft, but more often, they’re common mistakes like:

  • A credit card company isn’t reporting your credit limit
  • A paid-off student loan still says it’s active
  • A charge card reported a late payment by mistake

You may also find your credit report merged with another person’s with a similar name or social security number. 

How to improve: You’ll get a copy of your credit report when your mortgage is pre-approved. This doesn’t affect your credit. Instead, it can help you find mistakes. Review the information and make the fixes required. You can correct most errors easily online. 

Learn more about how mortgage pre-approvals and credit scores.

Use a Credit Builder Tool

Why it works: Sometimes, you want a helping hand to strengthen your credit.

Consumers can use a Credit Building tool to regain control of their credit score and reporting. Credit Builder tools increase the positive payment history in a person’s credit history and help build up savings.

How to improve: StellarFi automatically pays and reports every recurring bill through their platform to the three credit bureaus, Experian®, TransUnion®, and Equifax®. There are no deposits, no credit checks, and no interest paid.

Be Patient

Why it works: Length of credit history is 15% of your credit score.

Length of credit history is the average number of years you’ve managed your credit accounts. Longer credit histories contain more information, making them more predictive of future behavior. Consumers with short credit histories rarely earn ultra-high credit scores because they lack a track record.

How to improve: There is no substitute for time, which improves your length of credit history rating. However, you can help yourself by leaving aged credit accounts open – even after you’ve paid them off! Make purchases on your current dormant credit cards at least once monthly. Even small purchases of $5 are beneficial.


Citations

This article, "Fix Your Credit Score To Buy a Home in 6 Months" draws on the author's professional mortgage experiences and references information found at these authoritative websites:

Changelog

  • January 22, 2024: Minor copy changes for clarity
  • May 18, 2022: Original publish date

What to do next

See how much home you can afford to buy. Use our no-risk Immediate Mortgage Approval and find your mortgage eligibility in an instant.

Get approved here.

       When buying your first home, you may need to increase your credit score quickly, so here is how to fix your credit score in six months. 

Subscribe to our Newsletter

Be a better buyer. Subscribe now and never miss out on exclusive insights, new market trends, and first-time buyer programs.

Ready to get started?

Finding your dream starts here. Apply in minutes.

Get Pre-approved
© 2021-2024 All rights reserved. Growella Inc d/b/a Homebuyer. Homebuyer.com is powered by Novus Home Mortgage, a division of Ixonia Bank, NMLS 423065. www.nmlsconsumeraccess.org Homebuyer is located at 230 Findlay Street, Cincinnati, Ohio 45214. Novus Home Mortgage, a division of Ixonia Bank, is located at 20225 Water Tower Blvd. Suite 400, Brookfield, WI 53045. We have no affiliation with the US Department of Housing and Urban Development, the US Department of Veterans Affairs, the US Department of Agriculture, or any other government agency. US Government agencies have not reviewed this information and this site is not connected with any government agency. Equal Housing Lender. Applicant subject to credit and underwriting approval. Not all applicants will be approved for financing. The receipt of the application does not represent an approval for financing or interest rate guarantee. Restrictions may apply.