Before deciding on what terms they will offer you a loan (which they base on their risk), lenders want to find out two things about you: whether you can pay back the loan, and your willingness to repay the loan. To assess your ability to repay, they look at your debt-to-income ratio. To assess how willing you are to repay, they use your credit score.
The most widely used credit scores are called FICO scores, which were developed by Fair Isaac & Company, Inc. The FICO score ranges from 350 (very high risk) to 850 (low risk). We've written more on FICO here.
Your credit score is a result of your repayment history. They don't take into account your income, savings, amount of down payment, or demographic factors like gender, race, nationality or marital status. These scores were invented specifically for this reason. "Profiling" was as dirty a word when FICO scores were first invented as it is today. Credit scoring was envisioned as a way to consider solely what was relevant to a borrower's likelihood to repay a loan.
Your current debt level, past late payments, length of your credit history, and a few other factors are considered. Your score reflects both the good and the bad of your credit report. Late payments will lower your score, but establishing or reestablishing a good track record of making payments on time will raise your score.
Your credit report should contain at least one account which has been open for six months or more, and at least one account that has been updated in the past six months for you to get a credit score. This payment history ensures that there is enough information in your credit to generate an accurate score. Some people don't have a long enough credit history to get a credit score. They may need to spend a little time building a credit history before they apply.
At American Commerce Mortgage, we answer questions about Credit reports every day. Give us a call: 714-970-9700.