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Laura Hunt

Romance & Money

Repairing Your Damaged Credit Past

When one spouse has bad credit - home buying strategy

Katy in Kansas:
"My fiancé has had a tough time with seasonal work and layoffs. It’s not his fault, but he has bad credit. We are getting married in less than a year and would like to buy a home, but I’m concerned about protecting my good credit from his bad credit?"

Katy, you are right to be concerned about the credit, and gracious to be so forgiving of his problems. However, while it may not all be his ‘fault,‘ if he is doing nothing to remedy the past problems that most likely are accumulating on his credit report, then he must bear the responsibility.

The first thing I would do if I were you is to have him order his credit report for under $20.00 from one of the three repositories. For example 1-888-397-3742, 1-800-888-4213, or www.equifax.com1-800-378-2732.

This report will serve as a guide for him to know whom he needs to contact to make amends, pay off, cancel, or dispute debts. Until he takes ownership and addresses his credit issues, you should keep your credit separate from his.

He may also want to consider Consumer Credit Counseling Services that can be found in most U.S. cities or on-line at

Finally, you can make an appointment with a local mortgage loan officer and get pre-qualified for a mortgage. A good loan officer will tell you what you should do to prepare for buying a home. I have often sent people out of my office with a two-year plan of credit repair and an appointment in twenty-four months to be approved for a mortgage after they’ve done their repair work. The loan officer may also tell you that you can buy a home on your credit and income alone, as your separate estate (laws vary depending on the state in which you reside). Check with a reputable loan officer about your options and what strategies you should consider in developing a home buying plan. You may be in a new home by spring if you start now.

Continue to be vigilant in protecting your credit. It is a critical step in building a solid financial future. Try to not be blind to your fiancé’s responsibilities, but continue to be forgiving and supportive about his problems or weaknesses. Remember, you’re also building a foundation for a solid relationship.

Every couple and every strategy is different. Good luck!

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