When it comes to buying a home, your credit score plays an important part. Here’s how to clean up your credit to secure the least-expensive home loan possible.
Credit scores range from 300-850, and the higher the number, the better. The scores are based on personal loans, car loans, credit cards, and other debt you’ve paid in full and on time in the past. You’ll need a score of at least 620 to qualify for a home loan and 740 to earn the best interest rates and terms.
If you find mistakes on your credit report, write a letter to the credit-reporting agency explaining why you believe there is an error. Send documents that support your case, and ask that the error be corrected or removed. Also, write to the company or debt collector that reported the incorrect information to dispute it and ask to be copied on any material sent to credit-reporting agencies.
You may be surprised at the damage even a few late payments will have on your credit score. The easiest way to make a big difference without altering your spending habits is to diligently pay all of your bills on time.
Pay your credit card bills in full every month. If that is not possible due to your financial situation, pay as much over your required minimum payment as possible to begin whittling away the debt. Stop using your credit cards to keep your balances from increasing, and transfer balances from high-interest credit cards to lower-interest cards.
You’re entitled to a free copy of your credit report annually from each of the major credit-reporting bureaus: Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion. Access all three versions of your credit report at www.annualcreditreport.com and review them carefully to ensure the information as accurate.