Did you know you can get a free credit report? One of the first things you need to do when you start shopping for a home is to get a copy of your credit report. Your credit report gives you important insight into your financial health, and it will have a direct impact on how much you will be allowed to borrow as well as the rates of your loan. If you haven’t checked your credit in a while, here’s how you can do it.
You Are Entitled to a Copy of Your Credit Report
According to the Federal Trade Commission, every American is entitled to one free copy of their credit report every 12 months from each of the three credit reporting companies, TransUnion, Equifax, and Experian. To get this, you need to visit AnnualCreditReport.com and request it. You can also call 1-877-322-8228. Other websites may claim to offer a free credit report, but it’s usually combined with credit monitoring service or some other product. Only AnnualCreditReport.com is the official site.
What the Free Credit Report Shows
Your free credit report will show details about your credit history and rating, but it will not show your actual score. If you need your score, then consider ordering your credit history through a personal finance website. This will help you know exactly where you stand in terms of credit health. Only use a trusted source, or purchase the score directly from the bureau, to protect your personal and financial information.
How to Read Your Credit Report
If the credit report doesn’t show your actual credit score, is it helpful? Yes, the credit report can be quite helpful. It shows your detailed credit history that’s the same as what lenders will see when you apply for a mortgage.
When you get your report, read it thoroughly to look for any mistakes. If you see accounts that aren’t yours or incorrect negative information, challenge it. These all have the potential to hurt your credit score. Also, if you see information that’s too old to be included, like bankruptcy that’s supposed to disappear after seven years, dispute that as well.
You may notice that the three reports are slightly different. This occurs when one creditor only reports to one of the three, not all three. This is normal, and as long as the information is not in error, so do not worry about these slight variations.
If you dispute the information, the credit bureaus must investigate it within 30 days. If they can’t verify the information, it must be removed from your credit history. This can quickly elevate your score and improve your chances of getting a loan.
If you are having trouble understanding your credit report and its impact on your home loan, reach out to Tom Cumpston at First Home Mortgage. Let a Maryland mortgage professional guide your understanding of credit and its impact on your loan qualification and terms.