Question:   What if there is a credit reporting mistake on my report?

Answer:   There is no fast and easy way to repair damaged credit that took months or years to occur. The law allows negative information to appear on an individual's credit record from seven to 10 years.

Credit problems are the main reason would-be home buyers are denied a loan. The first step to clearing up your credit is to get a copy of your credit report to make sure that the negative credit information is indeed accurate. Some states now have mandatory timelines to respond to your inquiry or remove the blemish. For a copy of your report, contact one of the three major credit reporting agencies: Experian at (800) 392-1122, Equifax at (800) 685-1111 and Trans Union at (312) 408-1050.

The bureaus should provide instructions on how to read the report and how to dispute any inaccuracies it contains.

If your credit report is correct, take care of any outstanding delinquent obligations first. Lenders usually won't consider any borrower who has had a delinquent payment in the past year.

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