During the holidays, there are two primary threats to your credit: identity thieves, for whom you always have to be wary; and you. Dealing with the first usually involves a professional service. For your part, exercising control during this time of year is important if you’re shopping for real estate in Smyrna.

First, the Outside Threat

There’s a lot of anxiety about identity theft right now and it’s legitimate, given that more than 140 million people had their sensitive personal information leaked when Equifax had their data breach over the summer. You can check Equifax’s site for options, the FTC, or check with other resources to see what you can do to protect yourself, but don’t think that you don’t have any options at all, because you do.

Credit monitoring is a good idea if you’re planning on making a big purchase and, for most people, the biggest purchase they’ll ever make in their lives is real estate. Credit monitoring services monitor your accounts for suspicious activity and, if they detect something, they’ll report it to you and may take other actions, according to the terms of your service.

If you don’t have a credit monitoring service and haven’t checked your credit report recently, consider getting a copy of your report from all three bureaus and look for anything suspicious.

Second, You

The holidays are a time when there are countless invitations to splurge. People like to go out, eat at nice restaurants, travel to visit family, buy gifts, and more. When you’re planning on getting home financing, keep some things in mind.

·         Running up credit card balances can lower your credit score. 

·         Applying for new credit, including store credit accounts, can also lower your credit score.

This time of year, a lot of cashiers in department stores, malls, and so forth offer store credit cards to customers. If possible, avoid taking these. The better your credit score is, the better deal you’ll get on mortgage lending in most cases, so protect your credit score and avoid taking these offers if you can.

 

Getting pre-qualified for a mortgage is a great idea if you want to get serious about finding real estate in Smyrna. It helps set your price range but, almost as importantly this time of year, it gives you a reason to check your credit, which is always a good idea. Spending during the holidays can be a lot of fun but, if you’re home shopping, be sensible and hold off for the thing you really want.