The most important part of qualifying for a mortgage isn’t how much of a down payment you can make, it’s how good your credit score is. The better your credit, the more easily you can secure a mortgage loan, even without a fat bank account or a high-paying job. The first and most important action you should take is to get your credit report from each of the three major credit bureaus, Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion. You have to get all three reports because the companies and utilities that extend you credit don’t report to all three bureaus. The result is that each consumer has three credit reports with three different sets of information. You can access the reports for free at least once a year. If you find errors and report them (see below for details), you can get a revised report for free.
Your credit score is based on the information in the credit report. In the simplest terms, the score indicates how likely you will be to pay back a loan in full and on time. According to Steven Burman, president of Credit Advocates and an expert credit counselor, it reflects your credit history, how much debt you currently carry (called outstanding debt), how much debt you’re already approved to carry in the future (add up the credit limits on your credit cards for the answer), how long your credit history is, and how timely you are in paying bills. The higher the number, the better your credit is, ranging from a low of 300 to a perfect score of 850. Continue Reading