Credit Report Tips

Date January 9, 2013

Have you ever reviewed – in granular detail – your credit report? Here are a few tips that can help make sure you’re in prime position for mortgage approval – and receive the best terms and conditions possible:

Avoid The “Free Credit Score” Traps:
Even though you likely see a myriad of advertisements for “Free Credit Scores” on television and the Internet, there is only one official website where you are entitled to receive a free copy of your credit report every 12 months. That website is http://www.annualcreditreport.com. On that site, and only that site, can you receive your credit report from the three major repositories (Experian, Equifax and Transunion). Note – this site also gives you the opportunity to pay for your credit score (as opposed to credit report). For this exercise, you don’t need to know your credit score so I suggest you pass on purchasing your credit score.

Once You Have Your Credit Reports In Hand:

1) Check the first section of each credit report to make sure your Personal Information is accurate and up to date. This information includes your address, employer and other contact information. If you find that any of this information is inaccurate, please let me know and I’ll guide you on how to get this corrected.

2) The second area you should review is called “Negative or Potentially Negative Items” and usually follows your personal information. Here’s where you’ll find (if any) late payments, collection accounts, bankruptcies, foreclosures and short sales. Obviously, the less items reported in this section, the better. However, if you do in fact find erroneously reported negative items, it’s a great idea to attack those corrections right away.

3) The remainder of your credit report features a line-by-line detail of each credit account you have and its current status. Important information in this area includes:

  • How long the account has been open: Longevity of your credit relationships matters. In other words, a Visa card account in good standing for 10+ years will more positively impact your credit score than a newly opened Visa account.
  • Open balances: This is an important area to review. I recommend you pay particular attention to your balances versus your credit limits on each open account. The key here is to make sure your balances aren’t approaching credit limits – as this will negatively impact your score.
  • Status of Account: Accounts should have status listed such as “Current”, “Late” (and how delinquent), “Closed” (by creditor and/or by consumer), etc.  This is also worthy of double-checking for accuracy’s sake.

Source:  Fred Kreger, American Family Funding

 

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