Buying a home usually starts with a clear-eyed look at the state of your credit. It’s what lenders pull to determine whether or not to approve you for a mortgage, and if you keep tabs on it yourself, you can improve your chances of success.
Your credit score is a numerical assessment of the financial risk a lender or creditor is taking, while your credit report has all the details. It lists all of the lines of credit you’ve taken out and the payments you’ve made on them. It also includes repossessions and bankruptcies, if you have any.
A strong credit history means having a good track record of on-time payments, and a lack of large existing debts. That makes you more likely to get approved for a mortgage and qualify for a lower interest rate on it.
How to pull your credit report
It’s a good idea to get a copy of your report to see where you stand financially, and make sure there are no errors that need fixing.
Three major credit bureaus compile credit reports: Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion. You can request a free copy from each of them once per year by going to AnnualCreditReport.com.
Your request comes with a few security questions that only you can answer. For example, which company you’ve borrowed a loan from, or who you pay your mortgage to. After that, you’ll be able to view, save, or print your reports from your computer.
If you see any mistakes or issues on your credit report, contact the credit bureaus directly to dispute them. You can reach out to them online, or by phone or email.
How to lock or unlock your credit report
A lock on your credit report, often known as a “credit freeze”, prevents lenders from accessing your credit report and viewing your credit scores. You’ll usually want to freeze your credit report if you’re a victim of identity theft or suspect that one or more of your accounts has been compromised.
Landis isn’t a lender, but we need access to your credit report to determine if you’re a good fit for our program. That’s why we ask that you unlock your credit report prior to applying — specifically your report from TransUnion. Locking and unlocking your credit report is totally free. Find out how with each credit bureau directly: TransUnion, Experian, and Equifax.
Why you should monitor your credit
Keeping tabs on your credit helps you solve issues as they come up. For example, a late payment on your report can make a huge dent in your score and affect your ability to buy a home. By checking your credit regularly, you’re more likely to catch a late payment before it causes problems.
Part of working with Landis means tracking your credit regularly with an expert coach. Whether you need to build up more credit history, smooth over a financial setback, or simply raise your score, your Landis coach can help you achieve your goals and become a homeowner. Get prequalified to find out if Landis is right for you.