Having a good credit score is paramount to living in the United States: a home, a car, heck – you even need a credit score to get a phone these days! Our society depends so much on credit that ignoring your credit score could cost you hundreds, if not thousands upon thousands of dollars a year.
That being said, I have found that many people don’t know how to get their credit score on the up and up especially after a crisis. After getting to know Mister Clifford Ives from Gershman Mortgage, I started learning more about credit – not to mention, by following his simple steps I went from no credit to a credit score of 700 in about a year. The best part, I wasn’t charged a penny.
A Sad Sad Credit Score Story (get the tissues, cue the violin)
Once upon a time, there was a young lady who moved out to Malaysia for a decade or so. While she was galavanting around SE Asia, a very close and trusted family member stole her identity and proceeded to buy homes, motorcycles, jet skis and rack up a huge debt in her name – around $300,000 to be exact. Then…the unthinkable happened… 2008 had the U.S. going through a huge recession, and this young lady had no idea what this was doing to her credit.
She was tipped off that a bunch of debt had been racked up in her name, and when she pulled her credit score in Malaysia, she actually lost her lunch (true story). Not only had her identity been stolen, but it had been done by someone she loved and trusted. Double burn.
When she moved back in 2016 with her daughter in tow, she had a huge mountain of debt to face, lawsuits against her and no credit. Knowing she wasn’t going to sue this family member, fate smiled upon her and she met a wonderful man by the name of Clifford Ives who would help her, for free, to fix her credit and get rid of her debt.
A year later and almost everything has been removed from this young lady’s credit score, save for one little account which will soon be removed, and she has Clifford and the team at Gershman Mortgage in Springfield, Missouri to thank for it!
While this was NOT a pleasant endeavor, there is nothing like facing a challenge head-on and taking care of it. Armed with the knowledge bestowed upon me by Clifford and his team, I am well on my way to buying a house. But what did it take to go from no credit and a ton of debt to a 700 point score?
Why Your Credit Score Won’t Go Up
- Little or no activity.
You’ve got to show you are using your credit cards. Ideally, you are going to want three to five lines of credit. This could be in credit cards or loans. Instead of paying by your debit card, pay by credit and pay off your card the last day of the month before your interest kicks in. Then, immediately turn around the next day and put something on your credit card!
- People treat their credit card like a loan.
You should never ever max out your credit card with plans to pay it off over the next several months or years. Keep your balance around 30% but do NOT exceed 50%. For example, if you have a $1000 credit card, don’t go over $500. Ideally, you would want to be around $300. Pay it off the day before the new billing cycle kicks in to avoid interest rates, and start using it the next day again. It’s a game people… it sucks, but it is worth knowing how to play!
Your credit will stop going up if you keep it right at the balance. In the example above, if you keep your $1000 credit card balance AT $1000, you may get dinged for interest and end up owing a lot more than just your balance. Play it safe people!
- People use cash or debit instead of their credit cards.
Creditors want to see activity and payment so utilize that credit card! Just stay between 30 and 50% on the balance. Clifford suggests having two credit cards, one for gas and the other for groceries. Boom! Now you don’t even have to think about your cards anymore.
- People are 30, 60 or 90 days late on a payment.
Don’t have a late payment – it’s an immediate 30 point hit to your FICO score. Yikes!
- People don’t have a solid 12 month rental history.
This always helps – it shows you have activity and you pay your bills on time.
- People don’t know they have a bill.
Clifford sees this ALL too much. People move into a house, they don’t change their address or their forwarding address, they get a bill and don’t even realize they owe anything then BOOM! You get a 30 or 60-day late payment on your credit score.
One great thing you can do to monitor your credit is by starting an account at Credit Karma. Sure, it isn’t the same as doing a hard credit pull, but you don’t want to keep doing that because it affects your credit.
The other thing you can do is give Clifford Ives a call at (417) 425-3862 and have him set you up with a meeting with Warren. During the meeting, Warren will do a hard-yet-detailed credit pull, but it is to see what is going on in there. This will knock your score down 30 points in the following days but don’t worry, it will climb back up to where it was after a month or two.
Another thing you can do is visit Cliffordives.com and fill out the form. This is also a hard credit pull, but Clifford will get a hold of you after to discuss what is happening. Yes, Clifford does work for a mortgage company, but he isn’t there to hard-sell you a house. His company is genuinely interested in helping people build and increase their credit score for free.
But, if you are looking for a mortgage, I also highly recommend Clifford. My little sister just bought a home and though she received three quotes from different lenders (all around the same price), Clifford came in and financed her for three-quarters of a percent cheaper than the rest. In other words, she’s just saved a ton of money on her new home.
Wishing you an insanely high credit rating!