It's a jungle out there...let me guide you through credit!

The information in your credit report has a huge impact on whether or not you qualify for a mortgage loan and what interest rate a lender will offer.  Therefore, it’s important your credit report reflects a positive image of the way you manage your money.  If you're getting ready to buy a home, checking your credit report is the first, and best, way to ensure you get the loan and interest rate you deserve.

Let's get started.  You are entitled to receive your credit report from all three bureaus once a year, at your request.  Go to www.annualcreditreport.com and it will walk you through how to obtain the report.  This report does not give you credit scores, but that is fine because it is what on the report we need to see, not the scores at this time.  Once you receive it, we will get together and go over everything, either on the phone or in person.  The three agencies are independent of each other and the information will differ on all three reports.  It’s best to verify that all three have correct information about your credit history, because the lender will verify your credit with all three bureaus.

If you already own a home, and want to monitor your credit, here is a good way of doing so.  Once a quarter you want to contact one of the three bureaus directly and have them send you a report. 
Here is how to contact the three national credit reporting agencies independently – Equifax www.equifax.com,
Experian www.experian.com and TransUnion www.transunion.com - and request a copy.  This way you can monitor your credit throughout the year to make sure it is accurate - and it's free!

For additional fees, each agency may offer you different report variations, such as:

  • A credit report with or without your credit score.
  • A three-in-one credit report that lets you see a side-by-side comparison of records, from all three agencies, with or without scores.
  • Notification services when your credit history is requested.
  • Routine notification changes to your file.
  • Subscriptions that allow you to access your report on a regular basis.
  • The ability to freeze your credit so no one can access it. 

This is just another way they can make more money, but also a way to make sure your credit information is safe.  Use your own judgment if you need to use their additional services.

Credit scores are different for various industries.  Their are different scores for mortgage, car purchases, credit cards, etc.  Just because you bought a car last month and they said your score was 780, doesn't mean that will be the same score for getting a mortgage.  Just a heads up on this one. 

Whether you are thinking of buying a home or simply curious about what’s on your credit report,  it’s important to correct any errors you discover as soon as possible.  You don’t want errors in your credit report affecting your eligibility for credit in the future.  You can go on line to the individual bureaus and set up a user name and password and then interact with them regarding any changes.  Careful, it is like trying to crack into Fort Knox in order to get access into their website.  Once you are able to establish a user name and password, all works well.  Remember, they are trying very hard to protect your information. 

You may always call me to discuss your credit report, Sherry Bitner, 941-504-1445 or email me at Sherry@SherryBitner.com

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