To cut through all that confusion, here are some tips you can act on right now to identify and address any problems with your credit:
- Check your credit reports for free once a year through the three credit bureaus: Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion. Why all three? Because the information in each bureau’s report can differ. If one or all reports include mistakes, your credit score may be negatively affected, and you may need to address the errors before going house-shopping. And each lender may use a different bureau’s information, and they will tell you which one.
- Be strategic with credit card use: the percentage of your credit limit that you use every month can affect your score. Make sure your balance doesn’t come too close to your limit.
- The simplest and most important tip? Pay off your balance each month. To maintain a healthy score, pay it off before the due date. Anything after 30 days post due date can spell very bad news for your score.
- Be consistent: good credit behavior over the long term will keep your score high.
- Don’t take on more credit. If you apply for several different credit cards, you’re sending a message that you may have maxed out your other accounts.
- Don’t take on any new loans, for cars, furniture, or personal loans.
- Some lenders take the time to go over your credit with you, be sure to ask you lender if they can/will.
At BoyCott Realty, we work with lenders that sit down with you and go over any and all improvements to your credit where possible. Another way we make a difference is by working with people that make a difference, too.