Can anyone explain how they got their credit score over 800?

34 Replies

I'm curious to know especially how the last 20 or 30 points were obtained.  If there was any advice you could pass along that would be useful to others.   I have good credit in the 770s but I would like to get it over 800.

@Billy Rogers   one of the great mysterys of life

for me I have never even had a 30 day late in my entire credit life  40 plus years.

yet I struggle to have a fico above 730 or so.

I have no installment debt.. and only two credit cards  AMEX and VISA both paid in full monthly for the last 30 years.

what I do have though is mortgages on rentals.. and that is what drags me down.

Its bull crap though Never ever missed a payment in my life I should have a 850  LOL

Does not keep me from being able to walk in and buy anything I want on a signature.. but still... its all BS this credit stuff

@Joel Owens  yes I only have two credit cards one with zero balance and one with 14%.   I did a little internet research and read that the top scorers have an average of 7% so that may be one area of improvement.   I also read that they like different types of credit.  I have no car loan, so maybe on my next purchase I'll borrow for a portion of the purchase.

@Jay Hinrichs It does seem a little crazy how they do things.   I think I heard Dave Ramsey say that he has no credit score because he never uses credit.   I've always wondered what would happen if he walked into an auto dealership and said he needed a car loan.

@Account Closed  My oldest loan is a mortgage from 1998.

@Billy Rogers The credit scoring system does not make sense, it's a typical case of damned if you do, damned if you don't. To improve your score and possibly reach the 800s try the following: 1. Allow only one card to report under 10% of your limit; to do that, you need to know your statement cut off date for all your credit cards then leave balance of under 10% on one card to report but pay the other cards in full before the statement cut off date. Don't forget to pay the reported balance before your due date. Rotate the card that you let report balance every month. 2. You need to have a mix of credit (at least 3 credit cards, 1 store card, 1 installment loan, mortgage loan is a plus but you don't need to have mortgage loan to hit 800). Do not open all the accounts within a short period of time. And, you don't have to go get a car loan because you need installment loan to improve credit score. You may consider opening a secured installment loan at your local credit union with under $500(this is for those who don't already have an installment loan.) 3. Avoid any lates  4. Have patience. And rule number 4 is the greatest in the credit scoring game. Good luck

Originally posted by @Billy Rogers :

I'm curious to know especially how the last 20 or 30 points were obtained.  If there was any advice you could pass along that would be useful to others.   I have good credit in the 770s but I would like to get it over 800.

Before I bought my first two properties, my credit score was in the 790's, but now it is 809. I'm not sure why it went up after I took on a substantial amount of debt. I will say that aside from my mortgages, I have no debt. I did the Dave Ramsey plan and paid off all credit cards, student loans, car, and other miscellaneous debt. 

I wouldn't worry about the allusive credit score. It's designed for big banks and online institutions to make quick credit decisions for the average consumer who has 3 credit cards, a student loan, a house payment, and a car loan. My score is 640ish because I have multiple loans on multiple properties never late, several hard inquiries, because new rules on commercial loans require banks to pull your credit every year and I use several different small banks because I shop thier terms and price and have hit thier lending limits per customer on a couple. I also have and a municipality that sent me to collections on three separate utility bills less than $100 total because they sent bills and notices to property address not to my office. The algorithm the credit agencies use does not know how to deal with investors that have 30 or 40 mortgages. I recently got a 300k HELOC at 4% from a credit union with no problem even with a low score because they do "manual underwriting". The funny thing is I probably could not go rent a unit in a complex if they just go off credit score but I can easily get a loan to buy the whole building.

Most small bank's commercal guys know this and actually read the report and all but ignore the score.  Good luck!

Mine used to be around 805 - 810, but it dipped when I started doing speculative real estate projects.  My credit gets pulled about 10X the average consumer so that definitely drags my score down some.  Carrying a lot of debt doesn't help either, but I have made all of my payments on time for almost 20 years now.  

Anything over 720 is considered A credit so don't worry too much about getting over 800.  All that really buys you is a greater safety margin for when someone screws up and you have to fix it.  A bank reported incorrectly that I was 30 days late a few months ago and I found out when I tried to do a new speculative loan.  When the loan was extended they screwed up and they wrote me a letter saying so after I called them and complained.  Having a higher score still kept me above 720, but it really pissed me off.  That is really all that having a higher score will buy you.  

Welcome to BP.

My score used to be 800+ until I started investing in real estate and getting mortgages. My score is down to 730 even though I have NOT been late on any of my payments since 2007. Didn't have any negative information on any of my accounts.

Not sure how it works, however as long as you are above 720,  you are in excellent shape.

Hope it helps.

I recently got a $30,000 signature loan for 5 years at 1.9%.  My score at that time was a perfect 850.  I used the money to buy a used Porsche Turbo because I didnt really want to come out of pocket for the full $40k.

I have a lot of personal & business credit accounts but the only time I carry a balance is on a 0% purchase for consumer goods like a new TV, bed, etc.  My most frequently used cards are my business VISA and Menards card.  I charge about $10,000 monthly on these but rarely carry a balance.

I have a few large $50-100k signature lines that I use to purchase property from time to time.  Sometimes I max these out but they get paid in full after a few months.

I have a home mortgage, five investment property installment loans, a car loan, and a student loan.  I have never been late on a payment.

My credit has been established for about 15 years.

Originally posted by @Billy Rogers :

I'm curious to know especially how the last 20 or 30 points were obtained.  If there was any advice you could pass along that would be useful to others.   I have good credit in the 770s but I would like to get it over 800.

I was in the same boat you were in until I paid off my home mortgage. Score went up 30 points and now is slightly over 800. I still have one installment line (car) and I always pay off my credit cards every month, so utilization of credit is very low. Credit history is ~15 years. My wife has a similar score but much lower credit history and fewer lines of historical credit. 

As others have stated, we don't know the magical formula, but I think the key is to have one or two installment lines, several revolving lines (but not used), very few inquiries on your report (I believe these cost 3 pts each), and no derogatory remarks.


The credit reports are designed for consumer buyers, and not the type of person you would see on biggerPockets. For example, the average person doesn't have 14 mortgages and over $2M in debt. This signals a "problem" for credit agencies because it is outside the bell curve. Regarding the last 20-30 points, I'd contend the last 20-30 points are difficult.

On your credit report, they indicate why your score isn't as high... just look at the list and decide if you want to address the issues. Examples of things you can "cure" are "too many accounts with balances" or "No recent revolving balances". Pay off credit cards to $0 before pulling credit. Instead of paying cash for a vehicle, finance it even if it doesn't make financial sense (or cents) to do it. It makes credit sense, not (monetary) financial sense.

Some items... "Amount owed on accounts is too high" only make sense when you think of the average consumer. BTW, they don't ask for income... so "too high" relative to what?
They don't know if my income is $100 per year or $100M per year. Their algorithm is looking at the average Joe (not Joe Gore;) and makes sense for 99%+ of credit applicants. The algorithm doesn't consider BP types.  

Regarding the Ramsey comment: "I've always wondered what would happen if he walked into an auto dealership and said he needed a car loan." Better question would be a car rental, where you need a credit card. If Dave Ramsey said that, he would be (imagine Susie Orman) denied(1). It would be like Trump asking to rent one of my company's apartments. It will not happen. In an 'automated' credit world, where someone didn't or wouldn't know Dave, he would be like one of our 18 year old NCSU tenants without credit and be out of luck.

(1) Assuming the person at he counter didn't know him. He'd get different treatment...

I am over 800, and have been there most of my adult life.  But it dropped to the 790's for a few months a couple of years ago.  Why?  Because when I bought a new Truck, the stupid dealership put my loan 'out for auction,' and I had FIVE credit searches in one day.  The plus is I got a 2.79% but the negative is going from 810 to 790, more or less.  Three mortgages, three CC's paid off monthly and 3 vehicle payments.  No other structured debt.  Utilities paid on time.

I could never get over 800 because I didn't have installment loans like a mortgage or a car loan. Now I have a car loan that I paid down a bit along with a lot of credit available but very little of it used. In no time I was well over 800. Low utilization, different types of credit accounts open, and a long enough credit history should do the trick. 

I was at a RE Expo last year and attended a breakout session titled "45 points in 45 days". Having been in the RE & Mortgage world for 22 years I was skeptical but I must say I was very impressed with both the presenter (who is one of the owner and one of the original founders of the Lexington Law Firm for those of you veterans who remember that company) and his presentation. I was pleasantly surprised at the information I learned in his 1 hour presentation.  I also met with several individuals who had gone through his program and they all gave glowing reviews.  I'm fairly new to BP but I believe the posting rules do not allow for anything that appears as a solicitation (although I am not an affiliate of the company).  If this is of interest to you please let me know.

Based upon the number of response in a very short time, this appears to be a very hot topic. In my professtion, I have assisted thousands of people in boosting their score. As a credit expert I present on this topic quite frequently. I would like to share my presentation to the group in a webinar. The presentation is about 30 minutes and covers the factors which influence a credit score. It is both simplifed and content rich. I am new to Bigger Pockets and don't know how to navigate the system to share this knowledge. How would I go about setting up this up?

I'm in the 810 range and a couple things I do (other than paying everything on time)

1. Increased my available credit, but always pay off every month (obtained a secured LOC on my own savings which keeps it at a much lower rate and much higher limit than a credit card)

2. I always get a loan when I buy a vehicle (and always buy used!). I make payments for 8-12 months and then pay it off. Always pay if off within a year. I've done this for 4 vehicles over the past 12 years.

3. I had several credit cards I opened when I was younger to establish credit and have never closed them. It helps with the length of account time.

You can build up your credit score just by paying your utilities and house payment on time, if those are the only bills you have.  When you are holding multiple mortgages, or speculating, the inquiries into your credit history drag down your numbers.   Having a high debt-to-income ratio hurts your numbers, too.  

@Billy Rogers   My credit score has been over 800 for as long as I can remember.  Even still, I don't know what the secret is to getting it that high.  I can tell you that I have/had a variety of types of credit accounts (i.e. credit cards, multiple mortgages, HELOCs, auto loans, etc); my oldest account that is still open is a little over 20 years old; I have never made a late payment in my life on anything; no derogatory accounts/entries; and my overall credit utilization (of available credit) is around 3%.   I think it's a combination of all of those things that help.

Something you might try is to go to a site like Credit Karma where they have a Credit Score Simulator that will allow you to pick from a variety of possible options (i.e. close an account, open an account, increase or decrease your balances or credit limits, etc) and see how the changes might affect your overall credit score.  Their credit scores aren't exactly the same as your FICO score, but it could help give you an idea what you might need to do to raise your score to a certain level.  (Though your score in the 770's is already good.)