Your credit report - when you are thinking of buying your first home, or making any major purchase involving a loan, it’s important to know how if you have good, fair or bad credit. The credit reporting agencies create a file on you once you start establishing credit – using credit cards, taking loans, etc. If you pay your bills on time, and don’t have high credit balances, chances are your credit is good or excellent. However, there are many other factors that come into play. Read on to learn more.
Before you apply for a home loan/mortgage, request your credit reports first. (You should also obtain your FICO and VantageScore credit score rating, view the FICO page on this site.) You can request a free credit report if you are denied credit at any time. Also, The Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) requires each of the nationwide consumer reporting companies to provide consumers one free credit report (also called a "credit file disclosure") per year. The following states also have laws that allow residents to obtain free reports once per year: Colorado, Georgia, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey and Vermont.
You may request your credit reports at annualcreditreport.com, contact the credit reporting agencies directly, or by calling 1-877-FACT-ACT.
If you choose to contact the national credit reporting agencies directly, here’s the contact information for each of the three major agencies:
Because there are so many free ways to obtain a copy of your credit disclosure, it’s not always necessary to use one of the "pay" services to order your credit report. Always use the free methods of requesting copies of your credit file first before exploring other options!
If you find an error on your credit file, you must notify the agency of the error within a certain timeframe (usually 30 to 90 days from when you request the reports). You can notify the agency of the error(s) online or in writing.
Another important reason to view your credit file each year to be sure you are not a victim of identity theft. Identity theft is one of the fastest growing crimes in the US, so it’s important to check your credit file to be sure no one is applying for credit fraudulently under your name. Check out the Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC) site regarding identity theft and fraud at http://www.ftc.gov/idtheft for more important information.
If your credit isn’t great, or if your credit is bad, there are things you can do to improve your credit. Check out the FICO score rating page on this site fore more details on improving your FICO score and credit.