I was having lunch with my friend Sarah recently and we were talking about the bleak housing market for those of us looking to buy homes in the Bay Area. Of course, the Bay Area is one of the most unbelievably expensive real estate markets in the country, but the housing slump has affected people all around the country — both those with mortgages that are becoming harder or impossible to pay, and those wanting to buy homes who can’t get mortgages or who are priced out of the market.
Sarah and I laughed when we realized that we’d both been working on cleaning up our credit reports since, as she put it, “What else is there to do right now?” We know we’re not buying in the short term, so we’re both socking away money for a down payment, and trying to fix up our credit reports.
It turns out that we both had found errors in our reports and that we both were wondering how to get them fixed. That’s no surprise, though — according to the U.S. Public Interest Research Group, as many as 79% of consumer credit reports contain errors or mistakes. Yikes. Considering how much your credit score can affect your ability to get a mortgage, and the interest rate you pay if you can get one, that means that 4 out of 5 people could improve their housing prospects, among many other credit-related expenses, just by correcting inaccuracies in their credit report.
So, I’ve decided to document my credit repair process, what steps I take, how hard it is to accomplish, and what the end result is. I’m going to talk about the resources available to consumers — web sites, books, and whatever else I can find — and which ones work for me and which don’t. I’ll break the process up into pieces so that each post is short and focused on one resource or step.
If you’ve been through this process before and have lived to tell us your stories about it, or have suggestions or questions you want addressed, leave a comment here or write me at “marc at wesabe dot com” and I’ll cover as much of this feedback as I can.