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Understanding Your Credit Rating

      Perhaps the most important factor in obtaining a good interest rate on your mortgage is your "credit history."  We'll try to help you here to understand your credit rating and the mortgage terms you can expect from a lender based upon your credit rating or "credit score".

      When you apply for a mortgage from a lender or broker, by far the most important factor is your credit.  In some cases, your ability to get a mortgage is determined entirely by your credit.  Generally, there are other factors but your credit rating is probably the single most critical factor that determines whether you'll get a mortgage loan at all and at what interest rate you will get the mortgage.  The better your credit rating and the better you manage your credit, the lower your mortgage interest rate will be.

Before You Start Looking for a Home

      Before you start looking for a home, take the time to order your credit report from all three major credit reporting agencies.  The three major credit reporting agencies are:

Experian
PO Box 2104
Allen, Texas 75013
  888-397-3742 www.experian.com
TransUnion
PO Box 390
Springfield, PA
  800-916-8800 www.transunion.com
Equifax
PO Box 105873
Atlanta, GA
  800-685-1111 www.equifax.com

A General Guide to Credit Ratings

      First a definition -- your "credit rating score" is generally expressed as a