You know how important it is to have good credit when buying a North County home. But did you know that approximately one in five Americans have errors on their credit reports? These errors can cause problems when you’re trying to buy a house. They can lower your credit score, affect your interest rates, and even disqualify you for a mortgage. It’s important to stay on top of your credit report and take care of mistakes before you begin the process of buying a home. Here are the steps you should take should you find yourself in this position.
Step 1 – Order your credit report
The first thing you need to do is to get a copy of your credit report from each of the three credit bureaus. These include TransUnion, Equifax, and Experian. You can order one free report every year from each of the reporting agencies by visiting annualcreditreport.com.
Step 2 – Look for errors
The next step is to look over each report to see if there are any mistakes. Not sure what to be on the lookout for? Here are some of the most common mistakes that consumers may notice on their reports:
- Wrong name, phone number, or address.
- The report contains information from another person with a similar name.
- Wrong information caused by identity theft.
- Accounts attributed to you where you are only an authorized user.
- Debts listed more than once.
- Wrong balances or credit limits.
- Closed accounts are listed as still being open.
Step 3 – Report the errors
If you’ve identified any mistakes, then you need to contact the credit bureau supplying the report as well as the company that furnished the incorrect information. You can submit these mistakes by mailing a letter or contacting the company online. Be prepared to supply information about the error as well as supporting documents to make your claim. This could include recent statements that show an account was closed or that a debt was paid off. If you choose to contact them via mail, be sure to send the information certified and request a return receipt. Keep copies of all the documents that you send for your records.
Step 4 – Wait
The credit bureaus and the furnishers have 30 days to look into your claim. This is one of the reasons why it’s so important to request your credit report early – it can take time to fix mistakes. If they determine that there are errors, then you’ll get a report of the findings and a new copy of your corrected report. However, be aware that your claim can be denied. Reasons for denial include insufficient information to back up your claim or submitting the same claim more than once without supplying new information.
Step 5 – Follow up
Keep an eye on your credit report in the following days. There are times when companies furnishing the information for your report fail to make the necessary corrections. In cases like these, you can ask the credit bureau to include a statement in your account that explains your side of the dispute. You can also request to have corrected reports sent to any company that received your report in the last six months.
Step 6 – Contact the Clark & Gilman Team
Once your credit report is corrected and you’re ready to begin your home search, it’s time to contact the Cristine Clark & Jamie Gilman Team! We’ve been helping North County San Diego homebuyers for years, and we’d love to help you! Contact us today at 760-758-1211 or [email protected] to get started.