For many in the real estate industry, credit is the most important thing you can have. For most people, you can’t buy a home without credit. Pay higher interest rates with poor credit. You also pay more for other things like insurance and financing for bad credit appliances. So what do you do if you had some mistakes in your past and you need to fix your credit?

Many people are turning to professional credit repair programs. If you search the internet for credit repair, a million different companies will come up and promise to do everything they can for you to repair your credit. Many people who are eager to buy a home often spend money on these programs in the hope that their credit is high enough to take advantage of current interest rates and qualify to buy a home.

In my business, I have looked at many of these programs, and while some of these programs offer legitimate help to repair your credit, none of them do anything that you cannot do yourself. In fact, information on how to repair your credit is freely available if you search the Internet. In my experience, most people feel that it is too much work or they worry that they might go wrong and that is what prompts them to pay a professional.

So if you are going to pay for a credit repair service, here are some things to keep in mind when making your decision.

First, don’t use a business that sells lines of credit. Some companies say they can add you to someone else’s line of credit and that will increase your score almost immediately. While this is true, about 2 years ago the credit bureaus adjusted your credit score and now when they add it to someone else’s credit cards it only has limited effects on your credit, so be careful.

Second, a credit repair service is not a licensed service, so look at the details. Many times credit repair companies are NOT licensed, so look at their information and ASK what they are going to do. If they cannot clearly explain what they are doing for you, be careful.

Finally, before hiring a credit repair agency, check your own credit report. Look at the age of your credit items. If they are over 7 years old, you may be able to remove them with just one phone call. Read about this online and do a little research yourself before spending that money.

Until next week …

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