When buying a house, your credit can make or break you, and sometimes the littlest things can have the biggest impact. Below are five tips to rebuild and/or safeguard your credit.
Tip #1: Know your credit score. A lot of people will go into making a major credit purchase without knowing what their credit score is, which can lead to high interest rates with very low return. Websites like FreeValues.com offer a Free Credit Score so that it’s easy to know what your current score is before you get started with the application process. Also, set a time (monthly is best), to review your credit score, monitor your progress and to set credit goals for the upcoming month.
Tip #2: Don’t focus only on the big ticket items. When rebuilding your credit, it can be very tempting to only focus on the “big” ticket items like judgments or charge-offs, however, the personal information on your credit report is also very important and if wrong can cause a lot of issues. So it’s a good idea to ensure that any errors, like a misspelled name or an address you have never lived at, is correct just as quickly as the “bigger” problems, to ensure that your credit report is correct on all levels.
Tip #3: There are more important dates, then just your due dates. Keeping track of when negative information can be striked from your credit report is just as important as ensuring that any debt is paid on time, as there might be some negative information on your credit report that is passed the statute of limitations and therefore can be stricken from your report which would make your score significantly higher. Typically old negative information is supposed to be removed automatically once the statute of limitations has run out, however, it is always a good idea to check your report around 30 – 60 days after the information is scheduled to come off your report to ensure that it is truly gone.
Tip #4: Haggling is just not for thrift shopping. When it comes to your credit score, it doesn’t matter if you pay the collection amount in full or settle for less. So when you are contacted by collection agencies to settle a past debt, don’t be afraid to discuss your different payment options and/or full settlement amount. Just ensure that any deal you make with the collection agency is in writing, this will help protect you from any issues that may arise at a later date.
Tip #5: A secured card could be your best friend. When repairing your damaged credit a secured card is an option that you definitely want to look into. Not only are they relatively easy to get (mainly because you put up a security deposit for the card, which is refundable as long as the account is managed properly), and if you choose a card that reports to all three of the major credit reporting agencies, you can establish a new positive credit reference which will help your credit score in the long run.