If you want to buy a house and get the best mortgage rates and fees, you need a credit score of at least 740, reports Bankrate.com, which calls it the "sweet spot."
Just a few years ago, 720 would have gotten you into that house with a great interest rate. Credit scores range from 300 to 850.
But that was then and this is now--and it could catch many folks by surprise.
If your credit score is between 720 and 739, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac will charge you extra fees to borrow money to buy a house. Not surprisingly, those fees are even higher for people with a credit score between 700 and 719.
"What used to be great is now only good," mortgage broker Todd Huettner, president of Denver-based Huettner Capital, told Bankrate.com "I have clients all the time who literally wind up with a score of 739, 719, 699, 679...and it costs them money to either fix it or pay for it."
There is good news: It's quite possible for just about anyone to raise his or her credit score by at least 10 to 20 points--or more--in just a month.
Forbes recommends the following steps to raise your credit score fast:
1. Get a copy of your credit report from AnnualCreditReport.com. You get one free copy a year from each of the three major credit reporting bureaus: Equifax, Experian and TransUnion.
2. If you see an error on your credit report, dispute it.
3. Check your credit card limits to be sure they have been accurately reported.
4. Under-use your cards so that your "credit utilization ratio" is no more than 30 percent and ideally less. That is, if your Visa limit is $2,000, make sure you charge no more than $600.
5. Pay your bills on time. Your payment history is 35 percent of your credit score.
--From the Editors at Netscape