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Within the mortgage world, one of the single most important financial factors for borrowers is credit score. This number, meant to give a snapshot of your creditworthiness and ability to repay various loan types, plays a huge role in not only with mortgage loan programs you qualify for, but whether you can get the best mortgage rates and how much you’ll pay in interest over the life of the loan.

At Primary Residential Mortgage in Fort Myers, we’re here to help you get the best mortgage rate possible using every factor at your disposal. One reality regarding credit score that not all borrowers are aware of: It’s possible for errors to occur on your credit report, errors that could badly impact it in some cases. Let’s go over the basics on your credit score and report, plus how to dispute errors and return your score to the proper level if mistakes have been made.

Credit Score and Credit Report

Your credit score, generally referred to as a FICO score, contains reporting from the three major credit bureaus out there: Experian, TransUnion and Equifax. Areas like on-time payments, early loan pay-back and other positives will generally raise your score, while negatives like missed payments, late payments or too many new accounts being opened in a short period of time will hurt the score. Your score will also show your basic information like birthdate, address and SS number.

Your credit report is a visual representation of many of the factors considered in your score. It tells lenders about your previous credit accounts and your repayment history, whether you’ve missed or had late payments, and the percentage of your credit you typically have tied up. It will show both soft inquiries – when you request your own report, or a lender checks your score to pre-approve you for credit – and hard inquiries, which only happen when you apply for new credit. Every new credit application stays on your record for 24 months.

Disputing Errors With Each Bureau

It’s important to check with each of the three bureaus to ensure accuracy, as mistakes can happen. These kinds of checks are even more important when applying for a major loan like a mortgage. The contact information for each bureau is on your credit report – here are some basics on disputing errors with each:

  • Equifax: Equifax requires a dispute filed by either phone or mail, plus documented proof of the error. In some cases with substantial evidence, the dispute will be immediately accepted and your score will rise. In other cases, an investigation will be required.
  • TransUnion: TransUnion offers online dispute forms, and you may have to create an account. But this also allows you to follow the dispute as it moves along in the process.
  • Experian: Experian also has online forms for disputes, where you’ll answer simple questions about the dispute.

In each of these three cases, you can use the credit report itself as evidence. Note the item that’s wrong and why it’s incorrect, plus any proof you have for this, such as receipts or other documentation.

For more on disputing an error on your credit report before applying for a mortgage, or to learn about any of our mortgages, speak to the staff at Primary Residential Mortgage in Fort Myers today.

*PRMI NMLS 3094. PRMI is an Equal Housing Lender. Some products and services may not be available in all states. Credit and collateral are subject to approval. Terms and conditions apply. Programs, rates, terms, and conditions are subject to change and are subject to borrower(s) qualification. This is not a commitment to lend. Florida Office of Financial Regulation MLD646. Opinions expressed are solely my own and do not express the views of my employer.

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