1. Check your credit report for accuracy. You can get one free credit report per year from each of the three credit bureaus- TransUnion, Experian, and Equifax. After you received your report, check it for accuracy. Make sure your name and social security number are correct. Incorrect information happens all too often. Make sure your account hasn't been merged with someone with a similar name or social security number. You can get your free copy at www.annualcreditreport.com/cra/index.jsp
2. If you find errors, get them corrected. If you do find something on your credit report that is incorrect, you need dispute the mistake by contacting the credit bureaus directly. The credit bureaus will have their dispute procedures on their website and they are also required by law to investigate any disputed items. These investigations should be finished within 30 days of your filing of the dispute.
3. Keep your credit card balances low. It's a good policy to keep the balances below 25% of your available credit. Even if you pay off your credit cards every month, a high average balance will affect your score. This accounts for about 30% of your credit score.
4. Keep accounts open. This accounts for about 15% of your score. Don't cancel your old credit card or get a lot of new ones in a short period of time because this can hurt your score.
5. Make sure you pay your bills on time. Payment history accounts for about 35% of your credit score so paying your bills on time is the most important thing you can do. If you are having difficulty paying your bills, contact your creditors to work out a payment plan. Communication with your creditors is crucial.
6. Be careful about new credit requests. Every time someone runs your credit, an inquiry is recorded. If you are trying to get a loan, don't apply for other new credit first. This accounts for 10% of your score.
7. Pay off debt. The best way to boost your credit score is by paying down your credit cards.
8. Paying off a past due collection account will not remove it from your credit report. These will stay on your report for seven years.
9. Be cautious of credit-repair companies. Don't pay someone to clear away the negative items in your file. This can actually hurt your credit rating.
10. Ask your mortgage lender. For more information on how your credit score will impact your loan and interest rate, please contact your mortgage lender.
About The Authors: Betty Knowles is a full-time REALTOR® with Coldwell Banker Vanguard REALTORS® in Springfield, MO and proudly serves on the board of the Greater Springfield Board of REALTORS®. She also served as President of Women’s Council Of REALTORS® in Southwest Missouri. Betty’s genuine passion is helping people buy and sell homes in Springfield, Ozark, Nixa, and surrounding communities.
John Knowles is likewise a full-time REALTOR® with Coldwell Banker Vanguard and a member of the Greater Springfield Board of REALTORS®. A self-proclaimed computer geek, John is talented at developing real estate websites, videos, photography, blogs, search engine optimization and other technical skills essential to marketing and selling real estate in Springfield MO.
Together this dynamic team makes up TeamKnowles REALTORS®, Spouses Selling Houses! They are dedicated to doing what it takes to sell your home in the greater Springfield real estate market, or help you purchase a home that fits your particular needs. Give TeamKnowles a call today; you’ll be glad you did!
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