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It's always a good idea to get a free copy of your credit report annually. By doing this, you can locate and correct any errors on your credit profile. Some lenders may consider your credit as an indicator of the likelihood that you will repay your debts.

Having poor credit, little or no established credit or unresolved disputes with creditors can affect:

  • Your purchasing power
  • Your ability to get a loan
  • Interest rate you may receive

You can request a free annual credit report online, or request a copy of your credit report by writing to any one of the consumer reporting agencies below (a fee may apply).

  • Equifax Credit Information Services
    P.O. Box 740241
    Atlanta, GA 30374
  • P.O. Box 1000
    Chester, PA 19022
  • P.O. Box 2002
    Allen, TX 75013

When you receive your report, check for the following items:

  • Incorrect entries: It's possible that accounts which are not yours will be listed under your name or that late payments are recorded which were really made on time. You can request to have such data corrected by submitting a request in writing or through the consumer reporting agency's website. They will contact the creditor. If an error was made, the item may be updated or removed and a new credit report will be issued to you. If you disagree with the results of the investigation, you can add up to a 100-word statement to your credit file explaining your side of the story.
  • Outdated negative credit: If there are unfavorable credit items older than 7 years showing on your report, follow the procedure outlined above. Bankruptcies can be removed after 10 years.
  • Current negative credit: If you have current credit problems, the time to resolve them is before you buy a house. Re-establishing good credit after a bankruptcy or other credit problems is very important. Having an established credit history is also important as lenders want to see a track record of debts owed that have been repaid.

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