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Right after the mortgage meltdown, it was very difficult to obtain a mortgage.  It is still not especially easy, and I find that some buyers have credit scores that either prohibit them from getting a mortgage or make it difficult to get a good rate.

The first step to improving your credit score is to get a current copy of your credit report. There are three nationwide consumer credit reporting companies that provide reliable credit reports. Those companies are: Equifax- www.investigate.equifax.com, Experian – www.experian.com and TransUnion – www.transunion.com.  At AnnualCreditReport.com you can get a copy of your credit report from one of these companies absolutely free. To report false information that appears on your report you may contact the nationwide consumer credit reporting company that provided the credit report. The time it will take to correct your report depends on the specific error contained in your report, but no matter the length of time, getting your credit information corrected is your best and only option because your credit is at stake.

The second step to improving your credit score is to take control of your monthly debt. Your credit score reflects what you owed at the time of your last billing cycle and the amount of credit that you have available. People with the highest credit scores only use 10% of their total available credit each month. To maintain good credit you must keep your monthly debt under 25% and not utilize more than 25% of your available credit each month.

The third step to improving your credit score is to remember that “credit” cards don’t always benefit your credit. Paying off the balance on your credit card every month will not always improve your credit score. At the end of each billing cycle the full amount that you owe on that card is posted on your credit score, even if you paid your monthly charge. Once you have paid off the full balance on a credit card, do not cancel it. Canceling a credit card will lower your credit score, even if you have paid it off. Mortgage companies suggest that if you plan to purchase a home, you should not make any purchases with your credit card 3 to 6 months before you plan to secure financing for your new home. Instead, use cash or debit to pay for purchases during those months so you can enhance your credit worthiness.

Overall, your credit score is only a small part of your complete financial standing, but it is one of the most important because it proves your responsibility for paying off your debt. Don’t miss out on the historically low mortgage interest rates that are being offered. There’s no requirement for you to have outstanding income and a high down payment if you have good credit. Improving your credit score will give you an opportunity to take advantage of a low interest rate. Follow these 3 easy steps to improving your credit score and be on your way to owning a new home!