How to Get Your Free Credit Report
Your credit score plays an important role in expanding your financing options. No matter where you’re starting from, knowing your score is the first step to great credit. In this blog, we’ll break down the basics of credit and show you where to get your free credit report today.
What Is A Credit Score?
A credit score is a prediction of how likely you are to make timely repayments on your debts, expressed as a number between 300 and 850.
The likelihood that you’ll pay back loans, often called your “creditworthiness”, is determined by examining your past behavior. Three credit reporting agencies – Experian, TransUnion, and Equifax – collect information on your past payments, credit accounts, and more to come up with your credit score.
How Can I Check My Credit Score?
There are many online services that advertise the ability to monitor your credit for free. Though some of these provide great services, be wary of the fine print. Some services will ask you to pay fees, while others use their platform to advertise to you.
There is only one authorized online source for a free credit report: AnnualCreditReport.com.
This resource is sponsored by the three credit reporting agencies, allowing you to request reports from all three sources at once. Federal law guarantees you a free report from each of the three credit reporting agencies every twelve months.
To get your credit report online: Visit AnnualCreditReport.com
To get your credit report over the phone: Call (877) 322-8228
To get your credit report by mail: Complete the Annual Credit Report Request Form and mail it to Annual Credit Report Request Service, P.O. Box 105281, Atlanta, GA 30348-5281.
What Determines My Credit Score?
Your credit score uses your past credit history to predict how likely you are to make payments on time. There are five factors that determine your credit score, with some carrying more weight than others.
Here are the elements that influence your credit score:
Payment history (35%): The most influential factor affecting your credit is your history of on-time payments. Because lenders are primarily interested in whether you’ll pay them back on time, your payment history determines the largest percentage of your score.
Debt load (30%): Sometimes called your credit utilization or credit usage, your debt load is the percentage of your credit limit that you actually use. Debt load shows how much debt you have right now, which signals your ability to pay back a new debt.
Length of credit history (15%): Based on the length of time your current accounts have been open, the length of your credit history demonstrates how experienced you are with handling credit. To keep your credit history as long as possible, avoid closing out older accounts when you can.
Credit types (10%): The mix of accounts you have open shows your ability to manage different kinds of credit simultaneously. Having both revolving credit (such as credit cards) and installment loans can be beneficial to your score.
Credit inquiries (10%): When you apply for a new loan or credit card, the lender will conduct a “hard inquiry” into your credit. This shows up on your credit report, letting lenders know if you’re looking to take out multiple lines of credit at once. (Don’t let this stop you from shopping around for a mortgage. Multiple credit checks from mortgage lenders within a 30-day period are recorded as just one inquiry!)
What Is A Good Credit Score?
Every lender has general and discretionary guidelines for creditworthiness, but there are some common ranges for what’s considered good, very good and excellent credit.
According to Equifax, one of the three credit reporting agencies, credit scores are commonly grouped into these five categories:
Poor credit: 300 – 579
Fair credit: 580 – 669
Good credit: 670 – 739
The ranges used to determine whether you qualify for credit will depend on the lender and your unique circumstances. In general, a higher score unlocks new options, giving you the opportunity to choose the loans and credit cards that work best for you.
Additional Credit Guidance from Lennar Mortgage
Credit is important to your financial health all the time, but especially when you’re financing your dream home. Our Loan Officers are more than happy to help Customers check their credit with signed consent.
We’re committed to seeing you home. If credit challenges are stopping you from making your dream home a reality, we’re here to help. Your Loan Officer can refer you to Lennar Mortgage’s internal Home Buyer Solutions Group – a complimentary service to guide you towards reaching your credit goals.
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