It takes good credit to make buying and moving to a new home possible.
But if movers aren’t careful about leaving things behind, they risk losing their good credit record.
In a 2016 survey, credit.com found that 26 percent of Americans who claim they have never checked their credit reports said they haven’t done so because credit reports aren’t important to them. Nearly 29 percent of Americans didn’t think it was necessary to check their credit records because they always paid their bills on time.
However, you can only pay the bills you know about.
When they pulled their credit reports, 9 percent of consumers found a late payment or a collection that they were unaware they owed, the survey found.
Bills that don’t follow a mover to a new address are a key reason late payment or collection notices end up on a credit report, says Adam Levin, credit.com’s co-founder.
Anyone thinking of buying a home should check reports well before they actually plan to apply for a mortgage. Everyone is entitled to one free credit report from each of the three major credit bureaus once a year. Visit www.annualcreditreport.com to request a report.
“You want to give yourself enough time to correct any errors or find out about negatives [items on the report] that aren’t mistakes but could take time [to pay off],” Levin says.
Once you know your new address and moving date, call the customer service lines of all the places that you’re expecting bills from, like utilities, credit card companies and doctors to update your information, advises Levin.
Forwarding mail to the new address is another necessary step. But even then, some bills can get lost, since forwarding only last a certain amount of time, says Levin. Medical bills are especially prone to getting lost, since an issuer may wait for the amount paid by an insurer before billing the consumer.
Check credit reports again after a move, to ensure that no surprise items spoil your report, Levin advises.
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