Of all the obstacles to re-energizing the stagnant U.S. residential housing market, perhaps none are harder to overcome than the high prevalence of poor consumer credit.
According to a recent survey from FindLaw.com, nearly a quarter of all Americans (23%) have encountered problems with their credit report – which can be a significant barrier to obtaining a mortgage. Commonly cited problems include inaccurate information, identity theft, incorrect credit scores and credit denial.
However, when people discover a problem with their credit report, they often find it is simple to rectify. According to the survey results, 68% of people who found a single problem were able to get it corrected to their satisfaction. Of those who encountered multiple problems, 14% were able to get at least one corrected.
Another 18% said they were never able to get their problem(s) corrected.
Inaccurate information is perhaps the most troubling problem – particularly when considering that about 22% of Americans do not even bother checking their credit report, FindLaw.com reports. Should these consumers take the initiative to fix their credit, it is only logical that a percentage of them could then become eligible for a mortgage.
‘It's important to check your credit report periodically to ensure the information it contains about you is accurate and up to date,’ said Stephanie Rahlfs, an attorney and editor with FindLaw.com. ‘The credit reporting agencies all have detailed procedures for correcting errors. And our survey found that people are generally having success in getting the agencies to correct those errors.’