- Understand what a credit score is-it is, essentially, the rating of your credit risk. It helps lenders determine if you are a good candidate to offer credit to, and helps them plan the terms for which they will offer a line to you.
- Know what your credit score is by checking with the 3 main credit bureaus: Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion. You can score an annual free credit report from each! They each also have tools to freeze and unfreeze your credit between large purchases, but be sure it is unfrozen before application.
- Assure that all data and reporting on your credit report is correct. This includes inquiries, open accounts, and your personal information. If any is incorrect, make sure to fix it and dispute it to the reporting agency. Once you file a report through them, they will give you a list of the appropriate steps to take, including filing a police report, if required.
- Understand that some negative information and reports on your credit score can require 7-15 years to be removed. Avoid situations such as lawsuits, negative judgements, bankruptcy, and tax liens, when possible, and know their timeline if you already have them on your report.
- Check your balances on any credit cards, and make sure to pay them off/down, where possible, or balance them out.
- Assess your debt-income ratio and begin to plan the reasonable amount you will get approved for, so as to not be caught off guard if the amount is lower than you hope.
- Find an expert lender to help you get started. They are the market experts on mortgages of all sorts, and VA loans require a special expertise to assure avoidance of any issues and a seamless funding!
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Ashley Williams is a military spouse, and a mom of three. Her educational background is rooted mainly in healthcare, but has recently expanded into the world of real estate . Ashley has been a team member with the MilHousing Network since 2018, when she started as one of our PCS mentors. You can now find Ashley serving as our Director of Agent Services.