You’ve seen it on the news, and heard about it on social media. Credit breaches are becoming more common. And if you are considering buying a home, this can be a major obstacle. After all, when was the last time you paid for something with cash?
So what should you do?
- Monitor your credit card and bank statements.
Review each transaction to confirm that it is correct, and compare to your receipts. Report any questionable transactions to the financial institution immediately.
- Consider purchasing credit monitoring service.
While you are preparing to purchase a home to ensure that you are aware of any issues that may occur. Research a few different credit monitoring services before you make the decision.
A credit monitoring service is usually a subscription based service that offers you a variety of services that may include updates on your credit including credit inquiries, questionable transactions, credit score updates, and potential identity theft.
- Increase your awareness.
Be aware of your surroundings whenever you use a debit or credit card, i.e., gas stations, ATMs, etc. “Skimming” has become more frequent and can result in identity theft and/or financial loss. [glossary_exclude]skimming[/glossary_exclude]
- Pay down your debt.
Paying down your debt will decrease your debt to income ratio and could help in improving your credit score. It is also a good idea to start with the highest interest rate account first. Do not incur any additional debt.
- Review your credit report.
Now is the time to get a copy of your credit report and review it for errors. [NOTE: Only one website is authorized to fill orders for the free annual credit report you are entitled to under law — annualcreditreport.com] Report any errors and follow up on having them fixed, since this can be time consuming. According to the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), each of the nationwide credit reporting companies — Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion — are required to provide you with a free copy of your credit report, at your request, once every 12 months.
Don’t wait until you have found your dream home only to be denied a mortgage because of a credit issue. The FICO website has a lot of information that you will find helpful. And when you are ready to find that dream home, let us know. We’d be happy to help you!