Your credit score is the kind of thing that’s easy to forget about until you need it. It doesn’t seem to matter much, until it’s the difference between getting approved for a loan and being denied. Fortunately, if you check your score and do what you can to improve it, you can avoid this predicament. You just have to give yourself enough time. But how long do you need?
Well, according to MyFICO – the official consumer division of FICO – it depends on the type of financing. If you’re looking to finance a cell phone or get a new credit card, you don’t have much to worry about. A better score will get you better terms, but you’ll likely be approved even if your score needs some help. The stakes, however, are a bit different when you’re applying for a mortgage. If you’re asking to borrow hundreds of thousands of dollars, you have to be able to show you’re responsible with your money and able to pay off your debts. That’s why MyFICO suggests checking your score at least six months to a year before shopping for a new house. Having time to raise your score will, not only, put you in a better position to qualify for a loan, it’ll also help get you the best mortgage rate once you’re approved. (source)