Ok, here is the first step. Are you ready? It's really tough...
PULL YOUR CREDIT REPORT!!!!!
How do you know where you stand if you have absolutely NO IDEAwhat's on your credit report? Unfortunately this is how you are measured in the "financial world". It doesn't matter that you are a nice person and always there for your friends and family. It doesn't matter that you would give the shirt off your back for a loan. And no matter what....the bank does not take "pinky promises" to pay back the loan (I already tried)!!
So what is a "credit report"? It is a record of an individual's current and past debt repayment patterns. A credit history helps a lender (ie: bank, car loans, mortgages, etc) to determine whether a borrower has a history of repaying debts in a timely manner. A credit report also includes information found from public records including tax liens and judgments. They also like to see that you are not "maxed out" on all of your cards. Can you keep minimal balances?
There are dozens of sites you can go to for a copy of your credit report, here are a few:
- www.annualcreditreport.com ~ You can pull all 3 Bureau's at once, or pull one bureau every 4 months, it's your choice. I suggest this site - it's completely free!
Ok, print your report out & keep a copy. Most reports are fairly easy to read. You will notice that there is a "Public Records" section also. This section goes through any names that may be listed as "alias", if you are a married woman it will show your maiden name, if you have middle names, same thing there, etc.
PAY CLOSE ATTENTION TO YOUR CREDIT REPORT! If there are ANY errors report them to the credit bureaus immediately! You have the right to dispute errors on your report! Follow this link to learn how to dispute items on your credit report:
What's a FICO?
FICO stands for Fair Isaac Company, the company that created--and computes--this credit score. Although other companies also compute credit scores, FICO is the most trusted, and most used, score.
"It's asking me if I want to get my FICO score for additional cost....do I?"My opinion....NO! Get a copy of your credit report first. If there are a lot of problems, let's face it, your FICO is probably low, so don't waste your money. If you have decent to good credit, then you can decide if you want to pay for it, in that case I probably would. It's about $15.00 depending on what site you go on.
I suggest you follow this link and learn about FICO scores and how they are calculated and affect you. Remember, the better your credit=the higher your FICO score=the better loan you will get!
Ok, here is step two....again....very tough....
GO TALK TO A LENDER!!!
You can take a copy of your credit report with you, but most likely they will run a copy for their file from their system. You are probably wondering why I am sending you to a lender since I already told you to run your credit report. The answer is simple....If you have great credit, you already know you can get a loan. But, if you have even one blemish on your report, you need to talk to a qualified Lender/Bank who can help you figure out what steps you need to take to become eligible for the goal you are trying to accomplish - meaning purchasing a home, or any kind of Real Estate. Go over your options with them, that is what they are there for. BORROWER BEWARE: If you see something that says "For this much $ we can fix your credit" Don't do it! I doesn't always work. Sometimes it does, but it's your decision if you want to take that chance. Again....talk to your lender. Make sure you feel your lender is someone you feel confident in, that you can trust and you know that they are working WITH you and not working for themselves. I can refer you to many lenders, email me for a list email@example.com
Ok....what are you still doing here? Go pull your report!
P.S. My biggest tip to you right now is this:
DO NOT PROCRASTINATE! If you intend on buying anything, especially a home, any time at all in the future, you MUST do this NOW! It is better to know where you stand now and work your way towards your goal! You will regret it later if you don't!