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Smart Money: Tips to Boost Buyers’ Credit

Most Americans are doing just fine managing their money. But nearly half of all consumers have been 30 or more days late on a payment, according to MyFico.com, and three of 10 have been 60 or more days overdue. Twenty-three percent of all consumers have had a loan or account that was 90-plus days overdue, and nearly 20 percent have had a loan or account closed by the lender due to default.

If buyers you’re working with are among the group with less-than-perfect credit, help them improve it with seven tips from the June “Get Ready to Own” package of articles now available at the REALTOR® Content Resource. Start with these:

1. Know your credit score. Credit scores range from 300 to 850, and the higher, the better. They’re based on whether you’ve paid personal loans, car loans, credit cards, and other debt in full and on time in the past. You’ll need a score of at least 620 to qualify for a home loan and 740 to get the best interest rates and terms. You’re entitled to a free copy of your credit report annually from each of the major credit-reporting bureaus, Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion. Access all three versions of your credit report at www.annualcreditreport.com. Review them to ensure the information is accurate.

2. Correct errors on your credit report. If you find mistakes on your credit report, write a letter to the credit-reporting agency explaining why you believe there’s an error. Send documents that support your case, and ask that the error be corrected or removed. Also write to the company, or debt collector, that reported the incorrect information to dispute the information, and ask to be copied on any materials sent to credit-reporting agencies.

For five more tips on how buyers can better their credit, head to the REALTOR® Content Resource. If buyers’ credit is impeccable, share tips on steps to take before buying a home, finding the right home, knowing mortgage maximums, understanding real estate representation, and keeping their home purchase on track, all of which are also part of the “Get Ready to Own” bundle.

The REALTOR® Content Resource, the new tool brought to you by the National Association of REALTORS®, is an exclusive NAR member benefit that entitles you to download free homeownership content in your consumer Web site, blog, or e-newsletter. HouseLogic is the National Association of REALTORS’® no-topic-left-uncovered consumer Web site geared to helping home owners make smart decisions to maintain, protect, and increase the value of their home.

Brian Summerfield

Brian Summerfield is Manager of Business Development and Outreach for NAR Commercial and Global Services. He can be reached at bsummerfield@realtors.org.

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