Below is the first in a three-part series about improving your credit to become mortgage ready.

While your credit score is often crucial to securing the best home loan, it doesn’t tell the whole story of your credit history. The content of your credit report can be equally important to securing the best rate and mortgage possible.

According to the FTC, it’s important to review your credit report to ensure accurate reporting of your credit history. But what if your credit report contains errors? Under the Fair Credit Reporting Act, both the credit bureau and the entity that provided the bureau with your credit information are responsible for correcting inaccuracies on your report. By following the advice laid out below, consumers can fix credit report mistakes.

Step One

Send a dispute letter via certified mail to the credit reporting company. (View a sample letter.) Include your name and address along with a description of each error within the report. Explain why you believe each item is incorrect, provide any documentation to support your position and ask that the incorrect information be removed or corrected. Hold on to all related documents, including the initial dispute letter, during this process. Alternatively, you may initiate a credit report dispute online with each of the three credit reporting bureaus:

Unless they consider the dispute frivolous, consumer reporting companies are required to investigate all credit dispute claims and provide consumers a written explanation of their results. They must also forward any relevant information about the error to the entity that provided the information, and that entity is required to investigate and report the results back to the credit bureau. If one of the reporting companies makes a correction to your credit report, ask the company to send notices of correction to anyone who requested your credit report in the last six months, and ensure that the reporting company gives you the required free copy of your credit report to review.

Step Two

Send a letter using this template to the creditor or other provider who reported the erroneous information and include copies of any supporting documents. If the provider continues to report the item to one of the consumer reporting agencies, it must include a notice of your dispute. If the information is found to be inaccurate, the provider may not use or report the information again.

If you would like to receive free credit score monitoring and other valuable tools for budgeting and planning your financial goals, including buying a new home, email info@delmarmortgage.com for a free Delmar Vault account.