Improving your credit score

As we move into the holiday season, mortgages are not top of mind for most of us.

However, over the last few weeks, I’ve noticed that our housing market seems to be picking up. I’ve also noticed an increase in the number of mortgage qualification conversations I’ve been having as clients are getting ready to buy in the spring.

If you are considering buying then, my suggestion is to reach out to your mortgage professional soon to make sure you are organized and ready to go in case there are any issues you need to deal with while you are getting ready to make an offer.

Over the last few months, I’ve worked with clients who discovered surprises on their credit reports. Finding these surprises once you have an accepted offer in play can add extra stress that you don’t want (and shouldn’t need) to deal with.

Three issues we’ve had to deal with were related to debts that were over five years old. All of the debts had been paid in full.

None of the three had been updated on the credit reports to show as having been paid. They do now, as our office sent the corrections into Equifax while we had the documents on hand.

In one of the cases our client was able to get a printout from his bank the first trip in. The printout clearly showed the account number and a zero balance.

For the other two clients, confirming they had indeed paid the accounts in full proved a little frustrating.

In the first case, the outstanding balance related to a credit card. It took the client several phone calls to the credit centre and two trips into the branch to get a printout confirming the account had been paid in full.

The credit centre directed them to the branch and the branch sent them back to the toll-free line for the credit centre.

This was really frustrating for the client. She was trying to resolve this while organizing a home inspection and insurance and still dealing with day-to-day life as a single parent.

The third situation was the most challenging. Because of a nasty separation, one of this client’s phone accounts ended up in collections. The account was in her name, but was the phone her ex husband used. He stopped paying it and she refused to pay it because it was his bill.

They did eventually sort it out and the account got paid. However, the phone company still showed it as an outstanding balance.

This, too, was a case of the client being directed back and forth between the phone company and the collection company.

It was a $600 bill and was showing as written off on her credit bureau. It took almost two weeks to get written confirmation that it had been resolved.  

In this case the client was fortunate as her closing date was almost two months away, so she had the time to get it cleared up.

I encourage clients to do an annual financial check-up, which includes taking a few minutes to review their credit bureau. If you find inaccurate information on your credit report you are able to correct it.

Equifax is the credit report most lenders use to evaluate your credit history. Directions for correcting your credit report are on their website.

There is a process that we use as brokers to have credit reports corrected. When we submit we generally have a call back within three days confirming that it has been corrected and I’ve seen scores jump dramatically within a month.

If you’ve had any credit issues in the past, its especially important to review your report before moving forward with an offer. We’ve shared some thoughts about improving your credit score on our website. 

Life tends to get pretty hectic for most of us through the holidays. Dealing with a renewal, refinance, or purchase can be stressful at the best of times. Set yourself up for success well ahead of time.


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About the Author

Tracy Head and Laurie Baird help busy families find mortgage solutions. Together they have more than 45 years of experience in the mortgage industry.

With today’s increasingly complicated mortgage rules, Tracy and Laurie spend time getting to know the people they work with and help them to better understand the mortgage process. They support their clients before, during, and after their mortgage is in place.

Tracy and Laurie work closely with their clients, offering advice and options. With access to more than 40 different lenders, Tracy and Laurie are able to assist with residential, commercial, and reverse mortgages in order to match the needs of their clients with the right mortgage package.

They work closely with their clients to find the right fit, and are around to provide support for years down the road!

Contact them at 250-862-1806 or visit http://www.okanaganmortgages.com

Visit their blog at https://www.okanaganmortgages.com/blog


The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet does not warrant the contents.

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