We are well aware that our credit score plays a crucial role in obtaining a mortgage. If you are currently hesitant to apply for a mortgage, or have been temporarily disqualified from doing so – do not fear – there are ways to improve your credit score so that you can secure a mortgage for a future home purchase.
The first thing to do is obtain a copy of your credit report (Equifax, Borrowell and Credit Karma are all great places to get your report). Then use one or more of the following tips to boost your score.
1. Dispute Errors
Mistakes happen. You can dispute errors online through Equifax, Experian and TransUnion.
You can’t deny that you stopped paying a credit card bill when you were unemployed last year. But you can ask creditors to “erase” that debt or any account that went to collection. Write a letter offering to pay the remaining balance if the creditor will then report the account as “paid as agreed” or maybe even remove it altogether. (Note: Get the creditor to agree in writing before you make the payment.)
3. Check your limits
Make sure your reported credit limits are current vs. lower than they actually are. You don’t want it to look as though you’re maxing out the plastic each month. If the card issuer forgot to mention your newly bumped-up credit limit, request that this be done.
4. Raise your credit limit
Ask your creditors to increase your limit, i.e. making that Mastercard good for up to $3,000. Be careful with this one, though: It works only if you can trust yourself not to increase your spending habits accordingly. Otherwise you’ll be right back to using 66% of your credit each month and how will that look?
5. Change the type of credit you use
Using a different kind of credit can make for a modest boost to your score. For example, you might take out a small personal loan from the credit union or buy a piece of furniture or appliance on installment (but only if you’re 100% sure you can and will meet the payment schedule).
Above all, do your best to pay your bills on time. Your payment history – including the ones you pay late or skip altogether – makes up a whopping 35% of your Credit Score. Try to pay your bills in full by the due date, get rid of debts as quickly as possible and don’t go over the spending limit on your credit card. Your credit score should improve quickly by taking action and implementing these tips.