Credit where credit is due

One of my favorite Chattanooga mortgage lenders turned me on to a new resource the other day. I’m looking to re-finance a mortgage on one of my houses here in Chattanooga myself and Richard recommended that I sign up for CreditKarma.com so that I could check my credit and get a score without an inquiry showing up on my file. It’s similar to MyFICO.com except that it’s freeeeeeee!

St. Elmo Chattanooga Real EstateThere was a time when you had to shell out big bucks to get your credit score (where big bucks=about $20) but you’ve got some options now. Some credit card companies offer you scores but the ones I’ve seen only give you a score from one bureau. Credit Karma gives you two. There can be huge discrepancies from one bureau to another so it’s nice to have a couple to look at, compare and contrast.

Before you start the process of buying a home in Chattanooga, you’ll want to start checking your credit and getting rid of errors. Credit Karma can even give you some recommendations but since they don’t necessarily know what you’re going for, I’d take those with a grain of salt. Once you’ve cleared up any actual mistakes in your credit file, I’d talk to a lender for ideas on how to strengthen your credit rating in preparation for buying a house.

There is no such thing as a free lunch. It looks like Credit Karma makes its money by selling you on credit cards and other financial products. For straight up credit histories without scores, I’d still go with AnnualCreditReport.com, the official site to get your free report annually – as the name implies. I have to say, though, that Credit Karma does a great job of being clear and user friendly. And of course, if you want to see your scores, you’ll either need to pony up some cash or bite the bullet and give away a little information to a company like Credit Karma.

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