We frequently hear we're supposed to regularly check our credit reports. And staying on top of this is especially important when starting to shop for a new home. There are three main credit bureaus: Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion. These bureaus store consumer credit histories by the millions, and hundreds of thousands of businesses tap these bureaus for their data about you. Unfortunately, mistakes can happen. Especially if you're not the only "Bob Johnson" or "Susan Smith" who lives in St. Louis.
Let's say you receive a copy of your credit report and find a mistake-what do you do? What if there's an old collection account showing as unpaid when you have the paid receipt and a letter stating that the account has been settled?
Your credit report will show which of the three credit bureaus are reporting the error, and you'll get a toll-free number to call. But if you have ever called one of these numbers, you know to expect anything but friendly service. You know the drill, "Press 1 for English, Press 2 if you are a consumer, Press 3 if you'd like to enroll in our..." and so on. It's likely you'll either leave a voicemail or listen to some sales pitch for a credit protection service. But all you want is to get your credit fixed so you can clean up your report.
You'll be asked to fax your documentation, fill out some forms and then wait for the bureau to fix the report and update your file. This can take time, sometimes weeks. Luckily, there is an easier way: let your loan officer handle it for you.
That's right. You can give that very same documentation to your loan officer and they can have the offending item removed from your credit report in minutes. How can they do it so quickly?
Mortgage lenders use credit reporting agencies. Often. And those same agencies hire customer service representatives to make sales calls to all those mortgage companies. One of their services allows the lender to provide the corrected documentation showing the collection account as having been paid to the credit agency, who will then update the credit report almost immediately. What once showed up as an "unpaid" collection account now rightly shows as "paid." It's that easy.
It's important to regularly check your credit, and if you do find yourself in a situation where your credit report has an error on it, don't go to the bureaus directly. Instead, take advantage of the relationship your lender has with the credit agencies. Your mortgage specialist can fix things much quicker than you can.