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Check your credit report for errors

If you’re buying a home, you probably need a mortgage, which means lenders will check your credit report and score.

Making sure there are no errors on your credit report that could affect your chances of qualifying is an important first step. “In most cases it’s something small, but sometimes it’s huge,” says Kroger Menzer, real estate agent at Coldwell Banker at Southern Jordan, Utah, who worked for a mortgage lender.

Menzer knows this from experience, as he found out that he was listed as dead on his credit report. “It turns out that no one is going to lend you money when you’re dead,” he says.

You can request a free copy of your credit report from one of the three major reporting bureaus – Experian, Transunion, and Equifax – annualcreditreport.com. You can access one free report each week until April 2022. (Normally you are entitled to one free report per office per year.)

If your credit score is low for legitimate reasons, such as high balances on your credit cards or because you don’t have a long credit history, you can take steps to improve your score. Paying off unpaid debts, keeping your credit usage low, and making payments on time can boost your score. If you have serious credit problems, such as a history of late or defaulted payments, a credit repair company you may be able to help you increase your score.

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