CUNA consumer expert offers homebuying credit tips

October 6, 2014

MADISON, Wis. (10/7/14)--Consumers preparing to purchase a home benefited from some credit report tips from the Credit Union National Association's director of personal finance for adults.

In a recent article, CUNA's Susan Tiffany offered advice on collecting credit information. While applying for a home loan, Tiffany said, borrowers-to-be should request free credit reports from each of the three credit reporting agencies--Experian, Equifax and TransUnion.

"We usually tell people to request one of their three free credit reports from either Experian, Equifax or TransUnion every four months from, but when you're getting ready to apply for a home loan, we suggest you get all three at once," she told the financial rating and personal finance website "All three credit bureaus have different reporting patterns and each could have a different error that you might need to fix."

The article was picked up by The Star-Ledger, Newark, N.J.; Houston Chronicle; Valley News, West Lebanon, N.H.; and

Other tips for homebuyers in the article:

  • Read the report like a lender, who will be looking for on-time payment patterns;
  • Check the accuracy of your name, address and previous addresses. Inaccurate information can cause a delay during the homebuying process;
  • Review public records for any liens, judgments, bankruptcies or foreclosures that have been reported by a court system. "Any negative information such as a settled lien, judgment or bankruptcy will stay on your report for seven to 10 years," Tiffany noted;
  • Check credit balances and limits; and
  • Investigate inquiries made for new or additional credit. "If you're on the bubble of qualifying for a loan and the lender sees a lot of inquiries for credit cards and store cards, it could hurt you because it looks like you're trying to stretch your cash flow," Tiffany said.