Credit Report and Credit Scores
The information on your credit report can greatly affect the interest rate and your ability to obtain a loan. So it’s very important to check your credit report early, even if you are not quite ready to buy a house just yet.
There are 3 major credit reporting agencies: Experian, Equifax and TransUnion. Everyone has 3 FICO credit scores, one from each of the agencies. The FICO (Fair Isaacs Corporation) score is found by combining several factors, the most important ones being:
• Payment History - have you been paying all your bills on time? Late payments will hurt your credit score.
• Amounts owed – do you owe a lot of money on each account?
• Length of credit history – how long have the accounts been opened? The longer, the better.
• New Credit – how many new accounts do you have?
• Types of Credit in use – do you have a mix of accounts?
Generally, lenders consider credit scores of 720 and above as excellent and you will get the best interest rates. Scores of 680 to 719 are considered good and you will get the next best rates and so on.
Errors on the credit report are common. If you find an error on the report, notify the credit agency immediately in writing.
Specify clearly what the error is: account name, account number and what type of error (whether there was never a late payment or the account has been closed or you never had that account!).
The agencies are required to investigate and respond to you within 30 days. If the error is complicated, it might take longer than that to remove the error but at least they will be looking into it.
To learn more about credit, including where to check your credit score and tips for improving it, visit Empire Real Estate – Credit Scores.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Andre McFayden is Vice-President of Empire Real Estate Group, Inc. in Fresno, CA