So you want to buy a new home? Or you want to refinance? One of the first things that lenders will look at is your credit report. If you are thinking about a new mortgage, you may want to check your credit report first. There are a couple ways you can do that.
One of the easiest ways to keep an eye on your credit report is through a website at www.annualcreditreport.com. This site is free, it doesn't show up as an inquiry when someone else pulls your credit report. They will not give you a credit score, but you can see what each bureau is reporting. My suggestion is to pull one report, then look at it. If there are errors on it, you can work on fixing them, Then you can pull the other bureaus later in the year. Each bureau (experian, trans union and equifax) report on this site and you can pull one report from each bureau free each year.
With the credit card isues we keep hearing about on the news (Home Depot, Target, etc), it definitely pays to keep an eye on your report. I have had a few clients call me about their concerns and what they can do about it. I know that Target did offer some clients a free year of credit monitoring. This allows you to see if there are new inquiries or any new debt on your report that you are not aware of.
Recently I had a client email me that she wanted to "freeze" her credit report. This is possible but not ideal. When you have your credit report "frozen", lenders can not see your report. However you do have to remove it when you want to apply for credit. It is a more extreme solution but for those that know they have had their information stolen, it may offer a little more protection.
My suggestion would be to keep an eye on your report and watch for any new issues that may come up. There are also credit card companies that offer free credit monitoring. This also gives you a chance to see if anything is happening to your credit report.
If you do have errors on your report, make sure you report them immediately. If you have find errors on your report or possible fraud, contact that bureau immediately. You may also want to follow up with your bank and possibly file a police report. Some errors may take a few days or weeks to fix so if you are thinking about buying a home you want to give yourself time to correct any issues on your report.
One other option to get your credit report is to talk to your lender. I am always willing to go over someone's credit report with them so they know what they need to fix before they can buy a new home! If you have your lender pull your report, it will show up as an inquiry but you will also know your credit score. Your loan officer should also be able to go over everything and help you get an idea of what you may need to do to improve your score.