The Fair Credit Reporting Act recently was amended to require each of the nationwide credit-reporting bureaus â€“ Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion â€“ to provide consumers with one free copy of their credit report every 12 months. These reports contain consumersâ€™ payment histories, loan balances and other personal and financial information used by lenders, landlords, employers and insurers and are essential tools for real estate consumers.
Access to these free credit reports can help perspective homebuyers avoid surprises when they eventually apply for a loan. By checking the accuracy of reports and clearing up any discrepancies before buying a house, homebuyes will avoid the ramifications of being under contract and needing to secure financing immediately.
Especially important to look out for is identity theft, where consumersâ€™ credit and social security information are stolen and used by others. Such theft has disastrous consequences. With three credit-reporting bureaus required to give consumers a report every year, you can receive one free credit report every four months if you time requests correctly.
The free-report service is being phased in across the country west to east during a nine-month period. Michigan residents became eligible as of March 1.
To receive free reports, visit AnnualCreditReport.com or call toll-free 877.322.8228. Youâ€™ll need to supply information like name, date of birth, Social Security number, current address, and past addresses to verify their identities.