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Ask the Expert: I Want to Buy a Home in 2018, How Can I Improve My Credit?

November 15, 2017, 3:23 PM HST
* Updated November 15, 3:25 PM
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Ask the Expert with Dennis Santiago.

Today’s question has been answered by Dennis Santiago NMLS# 369291 with Mason-McDuffie Mortgage Corporation.

Q: How can I improve my credit score if I’m considering buying a home next year?

A: With the new year just a few weeks away, that leaves you with precious little time to get your finances in order. Let’s explore a few tips that will help you get a jump on improving your credit score before the end of the year.

Grab A Fresh Copy

The first step is to order a fresh copy of your credit report from one of the major agencies. The Fair Credit Reporting Act allows you to access a free copy of your credit report once every 12 months. So, if you have not ordered a copy recently, it is time to do so. You can access this free service through AnnualCreditReport.com, which is a website recommended by the Federal Trade Commission.

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Clean Up Anything Outstanding

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Now that you have a copy of your credit report, it’s time to go through it, line-by-line. You should recognize every current and outstanding account in the report. Any balances owing should be in order and reflect how much you owe. It’s critical that you flag any mistakes or old debts that you have already paid in full. If you come across anything that shouldn’t be on your credit report, call the reporting agency to let them know. If necessary, they will assist you with challenging the issue.

Pay Down Those High-Interest Debts

The final tip in today’s guide is to prioritize your outstanding debts so that you can pay them off more efficiently. The essential debt payments are your mandatory minimums, which you need to pay to avoid being sent to a collection agency. From there, try to pay off your debts with the highest interest rates first. Getting these paid off faster means that over time, you’re spending less on interest payments. Moreover, you can use that extra cash to pay your debts down further.

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*All information deemed reliable but not guaranteed, and should not be relied upon without independent verification. All properties are subject to prior sale, change or withdrawal. Neither listing broker(s) or information provider(s) shall be responsible for any misprints, typographical errors, or misinformation and shall be held totally harmless. Listing(s) information is provided by the REALTORS Association of Maui Inc (C) and is for consumers personal, non-commercial use. Information on this site was last updated (insert publication date). This is not intended as legal or tax advice, and readers are urged to consult with the appropriate professionals to determine the accuracy of information.

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