How to Fix Your Credit to Buy a House

It usually takes a high credit score to qualify for a mortgage. You need to make sure that your credit reports are as clean as possible when you are preparing to buy a house. You may have had some problems in the past, but you may be able to fix at least some of them before you fill out your mortgage application. The process is free and you can do it on your own if you are willing to do some detective work.

Step 1

Get a copy of your credit report from Equifax, Transunion and Experian before you fill out a mortgage application. You need to see what is on your reports before the lender pulls and evaluates them. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) says you are entitled to one free copy of your report from each of the bureaus every 12 months, so use the official Annual Credit Report website to get them.

Step 2

Read through all three of your credit reports, searching carefully for any mistakes in the negative items. Look for even the smallest mistakes, like a wrong date, high balance, payment status or credit line. Make a list of every error that you find on each report.

Step 3

File disputes based on the mistakes you found in your credit reports. The bureaus all have online forms that allow you to do this quickly and easily. Be very specific about the incorrect information. The bureaus are required to investigate your claims, and they must remove any negative items that are not verifiable.

Step 4

Follow up to make sure any invalid items were removed from your credit report. The credit bureaus are required to notify you of the results of their investigation. They will tell you if they could not verify the items you disputed. Get another copy of your credit reports to make sure they removed everything that could not be validated. If all of those items are gone, you are ready to fill out your mortgage application.

Tips and Warnings

  • In addition to errors on current accounts, the FTC says you might find some outdated negative items on your credit report. Most negative information can only be reported for seven years. If you find items that are older than the limit, file a dispute and demand that they be removed.

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