If you are considering applying for a major line of credit, one thing you should be doing in the weeks and months leading up to that application is using credit resources to improve your credit and keep track of it. I’ve found that it does NOT pay to be in the dark about your credit scores or the contents of your credit report. Why?
Because you want to see what your loan officer will see BEFORE she does. You need to think like a lender to make credit resources work properly for you. What lender is able to approve a large loan if you have unresolved identity theft issues on your credit report or inaccurate information?
Do You Know The Contents Of Your Credit Report?
If you can’t say “yes” to that question, you are NOT ready to apply for a car loan, home loan, or a substantial personal line of credit. Inaccurate data, identity theft, or even old data that should have fallen off your credit report before now can stall or cancel your loan. Credit resources such as free credit scores, credit report monitoring, and even credit checklists can help you in the planning stages for your loan.
And I’ve learned the hard way that it is DEFINITELY necessary to have some planning time ahead of your mortgage, auto loan application, etc. Any issues you have correcting your credit report will take longer than you think to fix. Start early!
Credit Resources You Need To Know About
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau official site has credit checklists you can use as a guide to repairing your own credit without paying a third party to try doing it for you. It also has advice on what to do if you need to dispute your credit report.
Major credit card companies also have consumer education sections on their official sites–consider the credit advice from Discover.com or the Credit Score Simulator at the American Express official site.
If you are in the market for a home loan, consider contacting the Federal Housing Administration for a free referral to a housing counselor near you–these counselors are HUD-approved and can help you with pre-purchase planning, credit information, and much more. It’s a credit resource well worth using if you are new to mortgage loans or have questions in general about getting your credit properly ready ahead of your mortgage loan application.
The more prepared you are for a major credit application, the better off you will be when it’s time to actually file the paperwork and wait for the lender to review your credit and make the decision to approve or deny your auto loan, mortgage, etc. Those who work on their credit and make inroads toward fixing it or improving it have a much better chance at loan approval.
Joe Wallace specializes in personal finance, military affairs, and consumer protection topics. Since 1995, his work has appeared on Air Force Television News, The Pentagon Channel, ABC and a variety of print and online publications. He is a 13-year Air Force veteran and collects unusual vinyl records, which gives him an excuse to write the vinyl blog Turntabling.net.