First Time Home Buyers


Repair Credit Score

Resources and information about how to rebuild bad credit and repair your credit score.

Basic Credit Score Repairing Strategy

The basic strategy to repair credit scores is as follows::

1. Get your credit report.

This is the first step you must take. To obtain free copies of your credit report, visit By law you are entitled to one free copy every 12 months. Please note: when you get a free report, you are not going to see your credit score, which is a crucial tool for rebuilding credit. To purchase your credit scores, we recommend this site.

2. Analyze your credit report and credit score.

You can use the free credit report analyzer which comes  with your credit score to figure out which items on your credit report are the most damaging.

3. Rank questionable/negative items

Now you have this list, you should rank each item according to the amount of damage they are doing to your overall credit picture. Rank the most damaging information first, followed by the next most damaging information, followed by those items which are neutral.

The items here are listed in order of descending importance with the first item being the "most damaging" to your credit.

Loan Default
Court Judgments
Past due payments
Late Payments
Credit Rejections
Credit Inquiries

4. Requesting Corrections

What should you challenge? Answer: everything that is damaging to your credit score, and you should always shoot for a complete deletion. In your initial challenge, meaning the first letter that you send to the credit bureaus, don't dispute the specific information within a collection listing, a charge-off, a court record, a repossession, a foreclosure, or a settled account. Save disputing the specific information within the listing for the NEXT ROUND OF DISPUTES. The first time you contact the credit bureaus your reason for your dispute on a negative listing whenever possible should be "not mine".

5. Send your dispute letters by certified mail

This is important, as you must be able to tell when letters were sent and received. It gives you some leverage with the credit reporting agencies if they don't respond in the time frame required by law. DON'T USE THE ONLINE DISPUTING SERVICE PROVIDED BY THE CREDIT BUREAUS. You need to be documenting everything, and you want to make sure that you have a complete record of your disputes.

6. Document Every Step

As soon as you have ordered your credit reports and photocopied your order letters and checks, you must create a precise organizational system to track your correspondences with the credit bureaus and your creditors. Why is this necessary? Unfortunately, credit items you have worked so hard to remove sometimes mysteriously reappear. If this happens, it is usually easy to have the items deleted permanently if you show your complete records on the first removal.

7. Wait the required time

Once the credit reporting agency has received your dispute letter, they are obligated to investigate. This obligation is not contingent upon you having been denied credit. According to the Fair Credit Reporting Act, the credit bureaus must take the following steps:

The credit reporting agencies must resolve consumers' disputes within 30 days limit, unless you have used the services of, then the bureaus can take up to 45 days.

8. Determine the results of your efforts to repair your credit score

When you get your "repaired" credit report back from the credit bureaus, they will summarize what changed on your credit report due to your challenges. You can compare this list to your own notes or just to the previous credit report.

9. Send additional dispute letters

It's a good idea to keep disputing negative listings with the credit bureaus. If you hit on the right dispute, the listing could get completely removed from your report. For instance, if you dispute the date the account was opened, and the credit bureaus can not verify this information they may pull the whole listing. You will need to change the reason for the investigation so the credit bureau will have something new to investigate. Each letter of dispute must have a different reason for disputing. That's OK, there are a lot of reasons that a single negative item can be disputed. The order of the reasons should be as follows (one letter after another until the negative item is removed, but wait for the results from the first dispute before sending the second letter, and wait for the results from the second letter before sending the third, etc.):

Not mine (not my account)
I didn't pay late that month
Wrong amount
Wrong account number
Wrong original creditor
Wrong Charge-off Date
Wrong Date of Last Activity
Wrong Balance
Wrong Credit limit
Wrong Status (there are about 20)
Wrong High Credit (the highest amount you used)

For example, the first time you challenge a listing, you might say the account is "not mine." The second time through, you would say "I didn't pay late the month that shows on my report as being late."  The third time you dispute you would say the the negative item is the "wrong amount."

Do not bombard the credit bureaus with disputes (about the same listings, that is). Sending one dispute right after another without waiting for a response is wasteful and counterproductive, even if you do use a different reason in your dispute. Again, you must remember to change the REASON for the dispute each time you submit and wait the allotted time. Otherwise, the dispute can be deemed frivolous and the credit bureau is under no legal obligation to take action. Also remember, that credit repair is a time-consuming operation requiring great patience. The rule of thumb is to wait 60 days between disputes of the same listing WITH A DIFFERENT REASON FOR DISPUTING. The process to rebuild credit is very time-consuming and there are no shortcuts available.

10. What if I get stuck or this is just too much work?

After reading all the steps involved to rebuild credit, you may realize that it would be easier for you to just have an expert do the work for you. We recommend the services of Lexington Law. They use the exact dispute process explained above to obtain impressive results. In fact, they delete thousands of negative credit listings every day, and they have been doing it for 15 years.

Whether you choose to rebuild your credit yourself, or have a professional firm such as Lexington Law repair your credit score for you, with the lending climate and tight standards needed to qualify, a very good credit score is more important than ever.

Credit Score Repair Resources

Listed below are a variety of additional resources to help you repair your credit score:

Free Credit Repair Kit

Current news stories about repairing credit score.

More repair credit score news items.

Repair credit score documents from the FTC.


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