A recent blog post by George Souto, a Connecticut mortgage broker, on the ActiveRain site discusses the important role that credit scores are playing these days in the mortgage process. See the post at -
I get people all the time who call me and ask to see houses. When we discuss their readiness to actually buy a house it sometimes comes out that their credit history is so bad and their credit scores are so low that they really can’t afford anything right now, much less the nice homes that they wanted to go see. I try to be nice about telling them that it would be a waste of their time and mine to look now, before they get their credit issues resolved. The mortgage people that I normally recommend can provide them with advice on how to repair the damage that they’ve done to their credit score; however, there is usually no way to dramatically shorten that process. Time and many paid bills must pass before the impact will be seen in an improved credit score.
Credit scores are important for leasing, too; although more important is the credit report itself, which hopefully shows a good pattern of paying bills on time recently. Many people have experienced some life event, whether it be an illness or death in the family, a layoff at work, a divorce or something that caused them credit issues and may have cost them their home. That doesn’t mean that they can’t be good renters, while they rebuild their credit. The key, again, is being consistent with paying current bills on time.
It is good advice to actually check your credit report at least once a year with each credit rating company. They are required to give you one free credit report a year. That report does not usually also have the credit score that they would give to a company inquiring about your credit, but they will normally sell you that for a small fee (just resist all of the other stuff that they’ll try to sell you, too).
So, be ready, whether you are looking to buy or lease and go get your credit report and at least one credit score. Read it over and make sure that you challenge any mistakes that you find, to get those blemished off your credit history. Then, you might want to compose a letter (if you are looking to lease) explaining what happened to put you in the situation that you are in and how you are working your way back to good credit. A landlord will want to understand that and feel good about your current ability to pay the rent.