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George Stephens

Stephens Properties

Ask George & Chuck

E-mail your question to "Ask George & Chuck". The answers to questions in this column do not contain legal advice. If you wish to obtain legal advice, you should consult your own attorney.

Credit scores, parking problems

March 16th, 2009

Dear George: I'm single and have worked at the same job for the past six years. I don't earn much, and my credit score is in the low 500s. What are the chance that I can get approval for a mortgage as a first-time buyer? Should I get a co-signer?

Answer: Working for the same employer for six years shows consistency, which is in your favor. However, most lenders will balk at a credit score in the low 500s. Here's a rough outline of what FICO credit scores mean to lenders:

  • 700+: Excellent.
  • 680-699: Good.
  • 620-679: OK. You likely won't be denied a loan, but the terms may not be generous.
  • 580-619: Banks and lenders are probably able to get you a loan, but it will be very expensive for you.
  • 500-580: You're in trouble. You'll need some credit repair before you get a loan.
  • Below 500: You need to repair your credit now.

You should enroll in a credit-repair class with an organization that belongs to the Better Business Bureau. Try this before you enlist help from the co-signer. Raise your credit score before taking on more debt.

Stephens Properties
1800 Augusta Drive Ste. 100, Houston, TX 77057   Get Directions
Phone: (713) 978-6673
Fax: (713) 978-6684