Your Credit Report
Your individual credit report is one of the most important barometers of your overall financial health. This summary of your financial responsibility tells lenders about your history of paying bills and is used by them to decide whether to loan you money. Credit reports may affect your mortgage rates, credit card approvals, apartment renting requests, or even your job application. Reviewing credit reports helps you catch signs of identity theft early too!
The official website, annualcreditreport.com, is the ONLY authorized online source for you to get a free credit report under federal law. You can get a free credit from each of the three national credit reporting companies every 12 months. Some other sites claim to offer “free” credit reports, but may charge you for another product if you accept a “free” report.
Your Credit Score & Mortgage Loan Process
Protecting your credit score is critical when you are in the process of buying a new home. Your rate and loan costs could be affected by even a slight change. Lenders want to know what your credit history is, and whether you have the ability to pay back the loan you are requesting. In short, good credit translates into lower rates and/or fees for the home buyer, and less risk to the lender. Credit scores can range between a low score of 300 and a high of 850. The higher the borrower’s score, the less likely he is to default on his loan.
Tips for protecting your credit score & your mortgage loan process
- Get up to date on any past due accounts and avoid making payments late
- Pay down outstanding credit card debt
- Try to stay below 25% of your credit limit
- Limit applications for new credit such as a new credit card or department store line of credit
- Do not make any large purchases. This includes buying items for your new home. Wait until your loan closes to purchase a new living room set, appliances or automobile
- Do not close existing accounts. Length of history is important to a good score
- Do not liquidate funds and keep your investment funds invested
- Stay at your current job. Stability is important to your creditworthiness. A change now can affect your credit score and delay or derail your loan application
- Do not deposit a large amount of cash, unless you can track its origin thoroughly and it’s allowed within your loan parameters. Hold off on borrowing cash from your mom.
- If you find an inaccuracy in your report, contact the agency reporting the error and let them know you’d like a correction