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Credit Report Errors

Here's our suggested plan of attack for dealing with credit report problems:

  • Be proactive: If you know that your credit report includes warts and imperfections, write a concise letter to the lender explaining why the flaws are there. For example, maybe you were late on some of your loan payments once because you were out of the country and didn't get your bills processed in time.
  • Shop around for understanding and flexible lenders: Some lenders are more sympathetic to the fact that you're human and have sometimes erred. As you interview lenders, inquire whether your previous credit blemishes may pose a problem. You may also consider enlisting the services of a mortgage broker, who may well be more accustomed to dealing with loan problems.
  • Look to the property seller for a loan: Property sellers who are interested in playing lender can also be flexible. Those who check your credit report may be more willing than banks and other mortgage lenders to forgive past problems, especially if you're financially healthy and strong today.
  • Fight and correct errors: Credit reporting agencies and creditors who report information to the agencies make mistakes. Start by identifying the erroneous information on your credit report.

If the bad data is for one of your accounts but a creditor (for example, First Usury Bank, from which you obtained an auto loan) has made an error, you'll likely have to harass such creditors until they instruct the credit bureau to fix the mistake. By law, the credit bureaus are supposed to respond to your inquiry within 30 days. Your best strategy is to have the disparaging information removed from your credit report.

  • Get a cosigner: As we suggest earlier, a cosigner, such as a relative, can also help to deal with credit problems that are knocking out your loan application.
  • Save more and build a better track record: If you can continue to rent, buying yourself some more time may do the trick. Spend a couple of years saving more money and keeping a clean credit record.

If you're having problems getting approved, sit down with your loan officer and make a list of the items that you must rectify to get an approval. Instead of trying to guess what's wrong, you'll have a checklist of what you need to correct.