As you know, Dave Ramsey advises all his listeners to get rid of credit card debt at all costs, and I fully agree. It is usually a trap for most people and removing the temptation will usually lead to better financial decisions in your household.
If you currently have a credit card and you will be needing a mortgage loan in the next three to six months, here are some tips on how to treat credit cards to avoid "dings" to your credit score.
1. NEVER close a credit card if you are going to get credit in the next 3-6 months.
2. Spread balances evenly (on a percentage basis) across credit cards to improve credit scores. The lower the ratio of balance to high credit limit the better. If the credit card you have does NOT report a “High Credit Limit”, you need to call the company and ask them to report the high credit limit. Otherwise, you will always appear to be at your “high credit limit” which will lower your scores.
Paying Off Creditors
If you have a 30 day late or past due balance, or just pay a creditor off, follow up with your credit report to make sure that they update your account to reflect the pay off.
Credit card companies have to pay the bureaus to update an account. If you pay them off in full, they will often avoid updating the account until you use it again. So, you could pay off a credit card, and years later still show a past due balance on that card because you never used it again, and they never updated it with the bureaus.
Bottom Line - actively reviewing and responding to the activity on your credit report can help you to increase your credit score wich in turn can help you to reach your goal of purchasing a new home.
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