My wife's credit was sub-par for a mortgage, and one of the reasons stated was that she owed more on her student loans than she originally borrowed.
She also had maxed out cards and late payments from when she was a student, so I was just wonder, does anyone know how much this alone can bring down your score?
Had? How long ago did she have maxed out cards and late payments? The simple answer is that these things will bring someone's score way down.
Generally speaking, utilization isn't a big scoring factor on installment loans (like student loans). That said, mortgage lenders are very senstive to your total debt load and any evidence that you might struggle now or in the future to handle that debt along with your mortgage, so having a balance greater than the original loan amount could be a red flag. Why is her balance higher than the loan amount? Did she only recently enter repayment after graduating or using a deferment? Is she only making partial interest payments on a reduced payment plan? Lenders will want to see you making payments that cover both principal and interest over a course of months to indicate that you can handle the debt.
Late payments and high util on credit cards both have a major impact on your score and are also red flags for any lender. Bringing util down from 90-100% to 1-5% can provide a substantial and instant score increase. The good news is that util has no "memory," it is calculated as a snapshot, so once the balances are down, all the damage is repaired. The late payments will hurt less over time.
In terms of the factors you listed, the maxed credit cards are probably hurting more than the lates (unless they are 90+ or very recent), and both of those hurt far more than the balance on the installment loan. Utilization on an installment loan is a very minimal factor in your traditional FICO score, but in the bigger picture of a mortgage lender, they may assign more weight to that factor than a plain FICO score or another type of lender.
Interest continues to accumulate on the Student Loans.
Reduce the amount of the max out cards
After a short period ot time the lateness will no longer be a factor in scoring.