My question concerns negative things on the credit history and buying a house.  I had my credit history pulled because I was thinking about buying a house.  When the financial person saw it, he said that I had some bad marks and needed to take care of them. I contacted the credit card people and they told me that these things would not be removed for 7-10 years.  Does this mean that I will no be able to buy a house until then?  I know people who have worst credit histories than I do, and yet, they have been able to buy a house.  My scores range from as low as 502 to 602.  How can I get my score up if slow payments stay on my record for 10 years?

Congratulations! The process of purchasing a home can be overwhelming, but it can also mark a very happy time in one’s life.

It is true that a bad mark remains on your credit report for 7 – 10 years.  However, what you should be concerned with is the most current activity.  This is what hinders your credit score most.  35% of your credit score comes from credit payment history.  In other words, pay your bills on time and do not be late.

If you have not ordered your credit reports, do so, it will not hurt your score.  Go to and get all three reports, free of charge. You will be charged if you would like to see your credit score.  Review these reports with a fine comb. Make sure that you not only understand what is on your report, but that the information is accurate.  Contact any creditors that are reporting erroneous information.  If you feel that you should debate an item on your report, do it.  Do not wait until a lender looks at your report and has questions that you cannot answer.  We usually recommend that you review your credit at least six months before you plan to apply for a loan so you will have the ability to fix any problems in your report first.  You should enter the lender’s office with explanations to all of the items on your credit report.  Be equipped.  Be prepared.

Rest assured that it will not take you will not have to wait 7 – 10 years before you can purchase a home but keep in mind the higher your credit score the better (lower) interest rate. This better rate could save you thousands over the life of the loan.  Although, cleaning your credit report and raising your credit score takes time, it will not take that long. It is also important that you do not make any large purchases with credit during this time because it would have a negative effect on your credit. Even though you have negative marks on your credit report, most of your score will reflect what you are doing today.  Until you get that loan, be on your best financial behavior. Below is a complete list of how your credit score is determined.

Credit payment history35%
Outstanding debt30%
Length of credit15%
Credit mix10%

Should you need further information on mortgages, review the Educational Materials section of our website.  Since you have already spoken with someone in regards to a mortgage, call them and ask what you need to work on.  It would not hurt to get some pointers straight from the horse’s mouth.   Finally, be positive.  A high credit score does not necessarily mean that you have the financial capability to make a mortgage payment.  Just as a mid range score will not impede you from getting a loan.  Good luck.