I am a mortgage broker and I specialize in clients with credit issues. I can specialize in this area because I have had my fair share of personal issues with credit ranging from lots of good credit, to years of rebuilding after situations that lead to really poor credit.
In March, 2002, I called a friend of mine, the mortgage broker who inspired me to follow in her footsteps, to help me get my credit in shape. My credit score at that time was 650. She gave me the basic, good advice and then instructed me to behave while time worked it's magic. Time, and good behavior was what it was going to take.
The basic good advice was to get a copy of my credit report and scour it for inaccuracies. The most common inaccuracy is your birthdate, of all things. I did this, and much to my dismay, all the bad info was factual. For my husband, he had a repossession that was showing a wrong year, meaning, it was appearing as if it has just occurred, instead of being factual of 3 years ago. We fixed that right away and got to work on the other things we could fix. We negotiated the payment of a few collections and followed through on those payments. After that, we had to do a few things and be diligent. #1, Always pay our bills on time, no matter what! Payment history, or more specifically, late payments are 35% of your credit score. Next we needed to pay down our balances. Using too much of your available credit is 30% of your score. We were advised not to open any new accounts as that is 15% and with that, come inquiries, which is another 10%.
Well, here we are in April, 2007, and both of our credit scores were in the low 600's. We did all the work, and in a difficult time, we used all of our available credit. This being 30% of our score, we were back down in the dumps with a middle score of 618. We had been working all year to pay off debt and turn this situation around when an angel appeared and gave us the lift we needed. Dave's dad loaned us the money to pay off the debt that was bringing our otherwise good credit down. From 618 in April to 702 today, November 2, 2007. Almost 100 points gained from time and good behavior...and a little strategic help.