One of the most important factors in preparing to purchase a home is making sure your credit is in good shape. For starters, you’ll need to obtain a copy of your credit report to see exactly where you stand.
You can get a free copy of your credit report through the The Federal Trade Commission:
From the FTC:
The Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) requires each of the nationwide credit reporting companies — Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion — to provide you with a free copy of your credit report, at your request, once every 12 months.
A credit report contains information on where you live, who you pay your bills, whether you have been sued or have filed for bankruptcy. National credit reporting companies sell the information in your report to creditors, insurers, employers and other businesses which use that information to evaluate your applications for credit, insurance, employment or renting a place to live.
Once you have your credit report, make sure the information is accurate. If it’s not, what are your options?
- Contact the credit reporting company in writing and tell them the information you think is inaccurate. The FTC provides this sample dispute letter to help you. They also advise you to send the letter by certified mail, send it “return receipt requested,” and of course, keep copies of everything you send. Credit reporting companies are required to investigate disputed claims, usually within 30 days, and provide you with the results of their investigation in writing.
2. If the investigation does not resolve the dispute, you can request that a statement of the dispute be included in your file for future reports. According to the FTC, if the information you dispute is inaccurate or incomplete, the information provider must tell the credit reporting to update or delete the item.
Need help with any aspects of understanding and improving your credit? Check out these resources from Federal Trade Commission website.
Is your credit report accurate, but you have scores that are lower than what you’d like them to be? There are a lot of resources available that offer information on raising your credit scores. One of the most recommended resources from lenders and real estate professionals is Debt.org: