I'm adding one item to my partner Chris Butterworth's excellent article about the 5 Things To Do BEFORE You Buy a Home. In fact, this To Do list item applies to everybody, not just potential home buyers.
You must understand how credit works and you must manage your credit rating vigilantly. There is no substitute for knowing how the system works and working the system to your advantage.
Here's a list of a few great resources I highly recommend to help you figure out how to make the modern credit scoring system work for you instead of against you:
- BankRate.com - an encylopedia-like reference on all things to do with money - taxes, insurance, credit, home loans, credit cards, etc.
- CreditMattersBlog.com - great information written by a former Wall Street reporter
- Suze Orman's website - check out the "Resource Center" as most of the rest of her website require login by folks who previously bought a Suze product
- Credit Bloggers.com - a group-authored site moderated by a former TransUnion consumer credit expert
- MotleyFool.com - an internet pioneer in the arena of advice about personal finance
- SmartMoney.com - the online version of the famed magazine ; the original focus was investing, now they cover all aspects of personal finance advice & education
Annual Credit Report.com - This site allows consumers to request a free credit file disclosure (commonly called a credit report) once every 12 months from 2 of 3 nationwide consumer credit reporting companies: Equifax, and TransUnion. Experian discontinued their score-providing service as of February 14, 2009. At AnnualCreditReport.com, the report is free, they charge for providing the score. To date, nobody provides a true FICO score to consumers for free.
MyFICO.com - Another site where consumers can get a free credit report and pay about $6 for their credit score. Again, scores only available from Equifax and TransUnion. This site has no once-every-12-months provision. You can request your report as many times as you like.