Tips to Improve your Credit Score.
Wondering how to improve your credit score so you can buy a home? You’ve got it all planned out in your head: a 3-bedroom 2-bath pool home in your favorite neighborhood with a 2 car garage.
But if you’re going to need to get a mortgage, you’ll likely need to improve your credit score, —a simplified calculation of your history of paying back debts and making regular payments on loans. If you’re borrowing money to buy a home, lenders want to know you’ll pay them back in a timely manner, and a credit score is an easy estimate of those odds.
There are three major U.S. credit bureaus, Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion, and each releases its own credit scores and reports (a more detailed history that’s used to determine your score). Their scores should be about the same.
You can check with your credit card company: Some, including Discover and Capital One whom offer free access to your credit score. Once you have your report, thoroughly review it page by page, particularly the “adverse accounts” section that details late payments and other slip-ups.
Obviously, the better your credit history, the higher your score—and the better your opportunities for obtaining a loan.
According to the 2013 Federal Trade Commission study, they found that 5% of credit reports contain errors that can harm your score. So if you spot any, start by sending a dispute letter to the bureau, providing as much documentation as possible, per FTC guidelines. You’ll also need to contact the organization that provided the bad info, such as a bank or medical provider, and ask it to update the info with the bureau. This may take a while, and you may need documentation to make your case. But once the bad info is removed, you should see a bump in your score.
If you have only made a late payment or two, call the company that registered the late payment and ask for it be removed from your record. Most companies will remove this from your credit report. Of course, this won’t work if you have a history of late payments.
If you’re often late with payments, now is the time to change. You have the power to improve your credit score yourself. Commit to always paying your bills on time. Try signing up for automatic payments so it’s guaranteed to get done.
Unfortunately, negative items (such as those habitually late or nonexistent payments) can stay on your report for up to seven years. The good news is by changing your habits makes a big difference in the “payment history” segment of your report, which accounts for 35% of your score.
So get working on improving that credit score so when you find your dream home, you are ready to buy!