Obtain Your Credit Report
It’s always a good idea to obtain a copy of your credit report before applying for a home loan. By doing this, you can correct any errors on your credit profile in advance, establish credit if necessary, start repairing your credit if you’ve had problems in the past. Lenders look very carefully at your credit as an indicator of your “character” or your willingness to repay your loan. Having poor credit, little or no established credit, or unresolved disputes with creditors can affect your purchasing power and your ability to get a loan. To avoid unpleasant surprises down the road, you can request a copy of your credit report for a small fee by contacting one of the following credit bureaus via mail or online:
PO Box 1000
Chester, PA 190221000
PO Box 2002
Allen, TX 750130036
PO Box 740241
Atlanta, GA 303740241
While a single bureau report is a file that represents the data from just one credit bureau, a 3in1 merged credit report is a credit report that includes data from all three credit bureaus: Equifax, Experian (formerly TRW), and Trans Union. When determining your ability to pay back a loan, many lenders examine your 3in1 Credit Report.
To get your full credit picture, it’s better for you to get your 3in1 credit report and compare data by going to any one of these web sites: www.consumerinfo.com, www.truecredit.com or www.monitrust.com.
If there are mistakes on your credit report (i.e. accounts that are not yours or ontime payments that are showing as late), you can have them corrected by writing to each credit bureau and requesting that the information be deleted. They will contact the creditor who must respond within 30 days. If the creditor does not respond, the item will be removed and a new credit report will be issued for you. If there is still a dispute, you can add an 100 word statement to your file explaining your side of the story.
If there are unfavorable credit items older than 7 years showing on your report, follow the procedure outlined above. Bankruptcies can be removed after 10 years.
If you have current credit problems, the time to resolve them is BEFORE you buy. Reestablishing good credit after a bankruptcy or other credit problem is very important. Having an established credit history is also important as lenders want to see a track record of debts owed that have been repaid.