Imagine that you’ve scrimped and saved for a down payment, worked hard to pay your bills on time, and found the perfect home that’s in your budget. It sounds like the perfect set up for a happy ending.
But then you submit your mortgage application, and the mortgage lender says that you don’t qualify for a mortgage loan with your poor credit. You get a copy of your credit report and realize that someone stole your identity and ruined your credit score with unpaid debts.
Do you think that scenario is far-fetched? Well, the IRS reports 2.7 million people in 2014 had their identities stolen. But if you stay on top of your credit report, you’ll know when something is amiss—before it gets out of hand. The best part is that you can check your credit report for free.
Each of the three national credit-reporting companies—Equifax, Experian and TransUnion—is required by law to provide you with a free copy of your credit report once a year at your request.
How many reports you request and when you make those requests is up to you. If you’re just checking your credit periodically, spacing them out can help you monitor any changes. If you know you’ll be applying for a mortgage loan soon, you might choose to get all three at the same time. Comparing all three can help you look for errors or address problems.
Go to www.annualcreditreport.com. This is the only website authorized by the federal government to provide the reports you’re entitled to receive. You’ll be required to provide some personal information to confirm your identity.
Monitor your credit report to ensure that there aren’t any surprises when you apply for a mortgage loan. It’s a free process that only takes a few minutes.