Before you take out a home loan or make any major purchase, you should be aware that any prospective lender will want to take a look at your credit report. Your credit report is a record of all of your past financial dealings, and any loans, credit cards, judgements, bankruptcies or other major financial transactions are listed there. Along with your credit report will come your credit score, which is a three digit number between 300 and 850 that represents a distillation of all of the above. That score represents your entire financial life, and your ability to obtain financing for any major purchase depends on having a good one. What if you don’t have a good record? Should you go to one of those companies that promise to repair your credit? What you should do is repair it yourself.
The idea of credit repair is a myth. There is no magic solution to fixing problem credit, and any company that promises to do so is only interested in your cash. Your credit report and score are maintained by three separate credit bureaus that keep pretty accurate accounts of all financial dealings done under your Social Security number. There is no way to quickly “fix" a faulty credit report. You can, however, fix it yourself and fix it for free. It just takes time.
The way to repair your credit record is to start paying your bills on time and paying off your debt. More than one third of your credit score is determined by your past ability to pay bills and to pay them on time. Start doing so now. It may take a year or two, but steadily paying your bills without making any late payments goes a long way towards repairing a credit score. Another third of your score is determined by your ratio of debt to available credit. If your credit cards are maxed out, you need to pay off or pay down your balances. It’s tough to obtain a loan when you are already in debt to the gills.
Stop using your credit cards, if possible. Don’t cancel them; just stop using them, particularly if you have a balance to pay off. You want to reduce your debt. Pay cash when you can. And check your credit report for problems. You can obtain a copy for free from the free credit report Website.
Repairing your credit record takes time and discipline. There is no quick solution other than paying your bills, paying them on time, and waiting for the damage to heal. After that, you should be in good shape to obtain your home or car of your dreams.
©Copyright 2005 by Retro Marketing.
Charles Essmeier is the owner of Retro Marketing, a firm devoted to informational Websites, including End-Your-Debt.com, a Website devoted to debt consolidation and credit counseling information and HomeEquityHelp.net, a site devoted to information on mortgages and home equity loans .