It is great that you are thinking ahead!
I personally would not worry about getting your credit pulled ---once--- by a mortgage professional. It takes several pulls on your credit in order to affect your score. As long as you work with someone you trust, and your credit is pulled once, you will be just fine.
All Banks that we work with will look at your FICO scores. As I am sure you know, there are 3 credit bureaus that will provide you a score. So Bankâ€™s will usually use the one right in the middle to determine if you will qualify for your mortgage.
I appreciate that you want to do the research ahead of time to try and prepare yourself for homeownership. But, I would encourage you to talk with a mortgage professional that can give you some pointers. That is what we get paid for!
When I work with Clients with credit issues, I run their credit through a software program I have that will show us exactly what the client should do in order to improve their score. Many times just the slightest changes can make the biggest differences.
Here are some general guidelines on how your credit score is determined:
35% of your score is determined by your payment history.
Did you pay your bills on time and are you current on all of your trade lines (accounts)?
30% of your score is based on the amount of money you owe vs. your available credit.
Keeping your credit cards balances and other loan balances around 50% of the available credit is a good way of improving your score.
15% of your FICO score comes from the length of your credit history.
Keep in mind that even if you no longer use a credit card for example.. Still keep the account open so that you can keep the account history.
10% of your FICO is based on your overall mix of your credit.
This means how many types of credit do you have (car loans, credit cards. or mortgages). The more types of loans you've have, the better, being too heavy in the credit card area could hurt you. This does not mean that you should run out and buy a car though!
10% of your FICO score is based on new credit that has been setup in that last 12 months.
Opening new accounts can hurt you, so keep that in mind this year.
That should get you started.. But I would still think about talking to a local mortgage professional for more detailed advice.
There is more to qualifying for a loan than your credit! If you are planning to buy in the next 12 months. It would make sense for someone to go over your entire scenario. This way if other changes are needed, you will know to work on them as well!
Give me a call if you have any further questions!