Buying a new home is an exciting time. It can also be stressful if you are unsure about your credit or know that your credit is not as high as you’d like it to be.

Your credit score is one of the biggest factors in how large of a home loan you can qualify for as well as the interest rate you’ll pay. The good news is there are easy ways to increase your credit score. By following a few tips, you can make sure your report accurately reflects your use of credit and create a plan to improve your scores if necessary.

  • Check for Errors – Errors on a credit report is very common. Make sure that everything is current and accurate.
  • Pay Down Credit Card Debt – One of the easiest ways to boost your score is to lower your credit card balances. Aim to have no more than 50% of available credit in use.
  • Remove Negative Accounts – If you have old collections or bad debt, negotiate with the creditor to pay some/all of the debt in exchange for removing the record.
  • Keep Old Accounts Open – About 15% of your score has to do with how long you’ve had credit accounts.
  • Pay on Time – This might sound simple, but paying your bills on time is one of the largest factors in a good credit score.
  • Avoid Applying for Credit Too Often – Hard inquiries into your credit score can negatively impact your credit. It you do need to apply for credit, try to do it all within a limited amount of time.

Credit issues do not have to last forever. By understanding what affects your credit, you can make real changes which will increase your score.