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Mortgage - FICO® Scores


How long will a foreclosure affect a FICO® Score?

A foreclosure remains in your credit files for seven years, but its effect on your FICO® Scores will lessen over time. While a foreclosure is considered a very negative event by FICO® Scores, it’s a common misconception that it will ruin your scores for a very long time. In fact, if all other credit obligations remain in good standing, your FICO® Scores can begin to rebound in as little as two years. The important thing to keep in mind is that a foreclosure is a single negative item, and if you keep this item isolated, it will be much less damaging to your FICO® Scores than if you had a foreclosure in addition to defaulting on other credit obligations.

Are the alternatives to foreclosure any better as far as FICO® Scores are concerned?

The common alternatives to foreclosure, such as short sales, and deeds-in-lieu of foreclosure, are all “not paid as agreed” accounts, and considered the same by FICO® Scores. This is not to say that these may not be better options in some situations; it’s just that they will be considered no better or worse than a foreclosure by FICO® Scores.

Bankruptcies as an alternative to foreclosure may have a greater effect on a FICO® Score. While a foreclosure is a single account that you default on, declaring bankruptcy can affect multiple accounts and therefore has potential to have a greater negative affect on your FICO® Scores.

How do loan modifications affect a FICO® Score?

Your servicer will likely use a FICO® Score, along with other factors, to help determine the new terms of your loan, such as your mortgage rate. In general, your FICO® Scores play a key role any time you apply for new credit or change the terms of a loan.

FICO® Scores are calculated from the information in consumer credit files. Whether a loan modification affects the borrower’s FICO® Scores depends on whether and how the lender reports the event to the consumer reporting agencies, as well as on the person’s overall credit profile. If a lender indicates to a consumer reporting agency that the consumer has not made payments on a mortgage as originally agreed, that information in the consumer’s credit reports could cause the consumer’s FICO® Scores to decrease or it could have little to no effect on his or her FICO® Scores.

How does refinancing affect my FICO® Score?

Refinancing and loan modifications can affect your FICO® Scores in a few areas. How much these affect the score depends on whether it’s reported to the consumer reporting agencies as the same loan with changes or as an entirely new loan.

If a refinanced loan or modified loan is reported as the same loan with changes, three pieces of information associated with the loan modification may affect your score: the credit inquiry, changes to the loan balance, and changes to the terms of that loan. Overall, the effect of these changes on your FICO® Scores should be minimal.

If a refinanced loan or modified loan is reported as a “new” loan, your score could still be affected by the inquiry, balance, and terms of the loan—along with the additional effect of a new “open date.” A new or recent open date typically indicates that it is a new credit obligation and, as a result, can affect the score more than if the terms of the existing loan are simply changed.

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