So, the only thing you really want for Christmas is a new Home!  Homes can’t really fit down your chimney, so you can't really ask Santa, but I'm here instead!  Here's a list of tips to help you whip your credit score into shape by Christmas, so you don’t have to rely on the big guy to make your Christmas dreams come true!  

You’ve been saving and scraped together a down payment, you’ve got a line on the areas top realtor Rose Price, of course, but… have you checked your credit score lately?  If your score isn’t 620 or higher you may not even land the mortgage pre-approval, a crucial step in the home buying process.  So, before you go touring homes with your significant other, consider these small gifts, which will no doubt have your credit score in tip top shape by Christmas. 

Credit Tip #1…

Check my credit score for FREE.  Here's a link to my annual credit report. 

Ok, first, check your three credit reports.  You can do this free once a year.  This will help you spot and correct any problems you are currently unaware of.  

Credit Tip #2

Pay early!

Early payments cut down on the amount of interest on your debt.  They also reduce the chances you’ll overspend while Christmas shopping.  The last thing you want is to hurt your credit score by over shopping.  

Credit Tip #3

Freeze your credit reports.

Experian, TransUnion, and Equinox all offer consumers the option to prevent the release of your credit report without your consent.  This gives you control over who accesses your personal and financial information…BUT know that this may also interfere with or delay timely approval of mortgage applications.  

Credit Tip #4

Work with a credit counselor.

Even the best budgeters need some help sometimes,  especially if your credit reports hold a little less than satisfactory information.  A credit counselor can get you on the path to correcting these things… ensuring you don’t lose your dream home!

Credit Tip #5

Know the 5 golden factors that determine credit scores.

Kind of like a humble Kanye West, the perfect 850 credit score is extremely rare.  However, understanding these five factors and the way they are measured to determine your score can help you score better in your financial future.  

The 5 golden factors:

Payment History (35%)

Debt and Credit utilization (30%)

Length of credit history (15%)

New accounts and Inquiries (10%)

Diversification (10%)

Credit Tip #6...

Keep an emergency fund...of 6 months (or more)!

Savings equals security…living without an emergency fund is risky business.  Before taking on the responsibility of a mortgage, you should really have at least 6 months of income saved, which will shelter you from credit burning events like unemployment, increased cost of living, medical emergencies, and home or auto damage.  

Credit Tip #7

Review your budget weekly.

Google calendar, iPhone apps, or just an old fashioned calendar will help you keep track of bills, ensuring timely payment.  Remember, bills paid late, even just one, can lower your score several meaningful points. 

Credit Tip #8

Use technology...here are apps to help track your spending and budgeting.

Even better than a system to help pay your bills on time, is one that gives you the bigger picture of all your income and expenditures.  This will help fine tune your budget.  A few we are quite fond of: Spendbook, MvelopesWally, YNAB, Dollarbird, BillGuard, and Mint.

Credit Tip #9

Sell the stuff you don't need or use anymore...Hello Ebay!

A great way to get extra cash!  Sell the stuff that clutters your home and you no longer use.  This is a good way to pay off debt and/or start an emergency savings account.  

Credit Tip #10

Clip, Clip, Clip your coupons.  It's a start.  

Sure, it sounds old school and it is!  I remember my grandmother sitting at the kitchen table clipping away…but there is something to it.  You can save some serious dollars on simple things like toilet paper, soap and other life essentials.  Free money?!  Why not?  If you are buying these products anyway, who not spend a little less for it.  All of the nickels and dimes will add up, just try it.

Credit Tip #11

Use calculators to help get out of debt… here is a link to 11 of the best!

It’s a good idea to know exactly how long it will take to pay off credit cards and get out of debt.  Debt calculators can provide essential information and perspective to help you understand if you’re on track or need to tweak your plans again.  

Credit Tip #12

Protect yourself from identity theft.

When someone steals your identity, they can open accounts and amass debt in your name, which obviously hurts your credit score.  

These service alert you instantly, when a new account is opened in your name…or if there is suspicious activity.  In some cases, it will even alert users to positive or negative changes in their score.  

CreditKarma.com offers FREE monitoring, however, the pay services offer a lot more preventative features and more assistance if you identity is actually stolen.  

Hopefully these tips will help bring your Christmas Wish to life!  What better gift is there than moving into your dream home?! 

 If you are interested in any homes in the Champaign/Urbana area please give the Rose Price Team a call at 217-202-8843 We'd be happy to help make these Holidays special and help you through the process of finding and moving into the perfect home.  

 

*A special thank you to Gina Roberts-Grey of Realtor.com for the great advice!