Now that interest rates are probably on their way back up, there’s no time like the present to make sure your credit is in tip-top shape.
Pay off smaller debts now. Thinking about a big purchase? Don’t make it. Instead, if you have small (or smaller) consumer debts, put off all the purchases you can and pay those off. Getting debt, any debt, off the books will boost your credit score and give you a better chance at a lower interest rate on a mortgage.
Clear up discrepancies. Most people’s credit history contains … well, stuff that didn’t happen that affects your score. Get your free credit report (from your bank, Credit Karma or another website) to see if there are any outstanding accounts listed that are no longer open and then call the three bureaus (Experian, Transunion and Equifax) to clear up the junk.
Avoid hard inquiries. When a bank, business or other potential creditor asks the three bureaus about your credit, it’s called a hard inquiry, and it counts against your score. Why? The assumption is that you are planning to buy something big from that creditor or open another line of credit, because why else would they be asking for your credit history? Even if you don’t open another account, it’s a strike against you.