current state of the economy, your credit report and credit score has become increasingly significant when it comes to borrowing money. Mortgage companies in particular, in an effort to reduce risk are scrutinizing credit scores to the point that getting a home loan is about as easy as building a rocket. We recently discovered that Fannie Mae has created a new set of guidelines regarding your credit score. If you have a score below 680 you will pay a higher rate on your mortgage. For the past decade they set the standard at 620. According to the credit bureaus, the average score is just below 680. What do you think is the most important factor in getting a home loan? Most people don\’t realize it, but your credit score tops the list as the most important factor. There are a few other things that you must have as well. A down payment is now mandatory. In the past you could have the seller pay all of your closing costs and get 100% financing meaning that you got in without a dime out of pocket. Not any more. You will also need verifiable income. Another big change from the days of \”stated income\” mortgages. It takes a combination of all three of these things but credit score carries the most weight. Beyond being approved for a mortgage loan, your credit score will determine the rate you get on a car loan, the interest rate you pay on credit card balances and which type of cards you qualify for. These days, it may just be the determining factor in why you don\’t get that car loan or credit card. Looking for job? Better hope you have a decent FICO score. These days potential employers are obtaining your score in an effort to predict what kind of worker you will be. Apartment managers and land lords will also use this number to gauge whether or not you will pay the rent on time. Getting your free credit report is actually quite simple. http://www.annualcreditreport.com/ will give you your report from Experian, Equifax and TransUnion once each year. You will get access to everything contained in your credit report except the credit scores. This makes the service pretty useless. There isn\’t much benefit in getting your free credit report unless it comes with your credit scores. Everyone knows that nothing in life is free. It seems that there is a catch to everything these days. Through various affiliates of the credit bureaus you are able to obtain all three of your credit scores, but in order to do so you are required to enroll for a free 30-day trial of credit monitoring service and required to give your credit card number. If you choose to opt out within the trial period, you will not be charged. Technically, you just got a free credit report with credit scores. Most of these services allow you to obtain unlimited updates to your credit scores along with identity theft protection and various other valuable features. You\’ll be able to see who has been looking at your credit as well as get contact information for all of your creditors. If you haven\’t seen your credit scores lately, take the time soon to find out what they are.
John Rasor asked: