We all know that in order to be able to finance a home we must qualify. One of those qualifications is based upon our credit score. Having a good credit score will not only help you get a loan but will also help you to get a lower interest rate. In order to improve our credit score we must know what our score is. Once you know your credit score how do you make it better?

    Step 1: Start with your Credit Report

    Because your credit score is based on your credit report, you should begin by ordering your reports from all the three credit bureaus and reviewing each one for accuracy.

    By federal law, U.S consumes are entitled to one free credit report from each of the bureaus every year. You can order your reports from the Annual Credit Report Request Service by calling (877) 322-8228 or by using the web site. www.annualcreditreport.com.

    After you've used you free annual peeks, you can get additional reports from a service such as MyFico.com, or you can order each bureau separately online or by phone:

          Equifax
          www.equifax.com
          800-685-1111
 
          Experian
          www.experian.com
          888-397-3742
 
          TransUnion
          www.transunion.com
          800-888-4213
 
 
    If you are accessing your reports online, you might want to print out the files to make reviewing easier. Exactly hoe your information is organized varies from report to report. But the basic sections are pretty similar.
 
    Check the identifying Information
At the top of each report is identifying information about you. Watch especially for the following:
  • Names that aren't yours
  • Social security numbers that don't belong to you
  • An incorrect birth date
  • Addresses where you have never lived

These are the kinds of errors that could indicate someone else's information s in your file. You might find other errors, such as an employer listed that you no work for or a misspelled address. You can ask the bureau to fix those problems as well but they shouldn't be your highest priority.

    Carefully Review the Credit Accounts

The next section lists credit accounts that you've opened, along with such information as the date you opened them, whether the account is still open or now closed, the type of account, the account number (typically abbreviated), your payment history, your credit limits, and your balances.

    Scan this section closely for the following:

  • Accounts that aren't yours
  • Delinquencies that aren't yours(including late payments and charge-offs)
  • Late payments, charge=offs, or other negative entries-other than a bankruptcy- that are more than seven years old
  • Debts that your spouse incurred before marriage (unless they improve your credit history)
  • Any other incorrect account notations, such as showing a debt as past due when it was wiped out in a bankruptcy filing.

If you find a number of incorrect entries, especially if they're delinquent or unpaid accounts, you could be a victim of identity theft. On the other hand, you could be suffering from a credit bureau mix-up that accidentally merged someone else's information with yours. It is most common when two family members share similar names.