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Before applying for a home loan, avoid problems by pulling your own credit reports, as your first step in starting the path to home ownership.

There are countless things that can be misreported on your report that translate to an increased interest rate on your home loan and possibly a denial out right. Delinquent payments are one of many things that affect your scores. An inaccurate maximum credit limit versus high credit can be a make or break issue. If a maximum credit has a $11,000 limit and your balance is $3000, that’s less than 30% of the available credit limit. Ideally each card should have no more than 35% owed on each credit line.

To increase your score, it would be wise, before applying for a home loan, to spread out your balances by possibly focusing on the card with the highest balance to its credit limit and making extra payments. I know you’ve heard from financial planners to pay down the card with the highest rate first, but this isn’t so much about becoming debt free, as it’s about getting a mortgage.

By checking your credit reports several months before applying for a home loan, you can look into issues and fix them prior to the lender pulling their credit report. To get a free copy of your credit report, go to and set up the free account. You’re entitled to a copy of your credit report at least a year, so access it wisely.

I personally use this site annually to ensure my credit report doesn’t have any inaccurate information. If you see any issue that might prevent you from getting a mortgage each of the three major credit bureaus offers free dispute sites to address your concerns. I’ve included them here and dispute any negative or inaccurate information you find.


Equifax Credit Information Services


You won’t obtain all three FICO scores with the free version, but it does offer one from Experian. When it’s time to getting pre-approved your loan officer can secure the other two and get the bigger picture for you. For now, we’re just discussing the first steps to home ownership and ensuring information about your creditworthiness is being correctly reported.

After you’ve corrected any inaccurate information on your credit report ask your loan officer to get you pre-qualified. They’ll be happy to do this and more often than not it’s free. But before you do, I hope you’ve interviewed a few lenders. If you had, one of your interview questions should have been: “Do you offer any credit repair or rapid rescoring tools for your customers?” If they said yes, you’re probably in pretty good hands.

Here’s where a lender can save you several hundred dollars by advising you about your credit and FICO score, rather than using a credit repair service or paying a higher interest rate. Personally, I like lenders that offer their customers FICO improvement stimulators like CreditXpert. For just a few dollars, your loan officer has access to their FICO simulator that offers “What if” scenarios and how much of an improved FICO score to expect over the next 30 days, based on your current FICO Score and sets limits you can work with..



Organizing your home shopping experience affords a wise decision making process. This simple home inspection tool makes your ultimate buying decision a smart one. To print this document click on “Open in New Window” located at the lower right corner; click on “File”; then click on “Print”. In the center of the screen you will have the option  to “Create A Printable PDF of the Presentation”.