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1-2-3 Credit & Me: Learn how you can Stabilize, Improve & Maintain your credit throughout your lifetime (Part of the Real Estate & Finance 360 Degrees Series of Books Book 6) by THOMAS (TJ) UNDERWOOD  | Sold by: Services LLC | Oct 19, 2020, updated Summer 2023

What's inside 1-2-3...




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If you are considering purchasing a home or refinancingyou can go to or along with local mortgage lenders in your areato determine what loan will best suit youand your family.  You can compare closing costs, APR's and Par rates to determine what loan will best serve yourand your family's long-term interests.

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12 Helpful Pre-Purchase Home Buyer Tips

12 Things Every Homebuyer Should do Prior to Meeting With a Loan Officer or Real Estate Agent

1. Be wary of sites offering free credit reports. They will often entice you to enter your debit/credit card data and then charge you monthly if you don't opt out.

They are betting that you won't opt out and then they charge your credit or debit card monthly for some type of service you agree to by not opting out.

This is just one of many tactics that sites that tout free credit reports use.

2. Obtain your credit report and credit score from the 3 major credit bureaus.

Go to to receive one free report per year from the three major credit bureaus (experian, equifax, and transUnion).

3. Take immediate action to correct errors.

4. Get current on all of your accounts.

5. Get bad accounts deleted if possible.

6. Pay down credit accounts that are over 50% of the allowable limit.

7. Keep older credit accounts open.

8. Avoid opening new credit (or stop utilizing your current credit) unless the time horizon for home purchase is well into the future.

9. If you have old collection accounts with balances it may be best in some cases to leave them alone.  The "statute of limitation" in your state for outstanding debtmay drop the accounts from your credit file.

10. Correct incorrect information on your credit report that was included in bankruptcy.

11. Do not procrastinateyou must take action now. By doing the above you should see results in a matter of months. Also get your credit score from the 3 credit bureaus by going to for freeor for a nominal fee.

You can also go to myFICO to get your credit score for a relatively low fee. It is my experience that it is somewhat more accurate than other credit score sites but their is a fee involved.

12. Do your own preliminary pre-qualification based on your incomeand housing and debt ratio of 41%.

The 41% should consist of all of your current debts plus your future expected housing paymentincluding taxes and insuranceas well as homeowners dues and private mortgage insurance.

To Calculate Your Debt To Income Ratio Go To This Page

This is only an estimate, the actual ratio will vary depending on the type of loan and the debt load you are comfortable withas well as other "compensating factors"that may be present.

You mention "compensating factors" quite often on this site. Can You tell me what compensating factors are?

About This Checklist:


The above checklist was created by Thomas (TJ) Underwood.   Thomas (TJ) Underwood is a licensed real estate broker in the state of Georgia and is the writer behind The Wealth Increaser, Home Buyer 411,  Home Seller 411, The 3 Step Structured Approach to Managing Your Finances, Managing & Improving Your Credit & Finances for this MILLENNIUM and CREDIT & FINANCE IMPROVEMENT MADE EASY—FREE GUIDE. 

He is the creator of where he regularly blogs about helping consumers improve their credit, finance and real estate pursuits in an intelligent, consistent and proactive manner.  He’s always looking for ways to make intelligent finance improvement happen for those who “sincerely desire” success in their future. 

You can contact him from a number of sources but the most direct way is to contact him through the contact us block that can be found at the bottom of this page.  Get highly relevant tips on "living your life more abundantly" by logging on to

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Thomas (TJ) Underwood has been providing financial advice as a tax practitioner since the mid 1980’s and began his financial planning career (while earning a Bachelor of Science Degree in Business Administration/Finance/Marketing), in Detroit at Wayne State University.  From 2010 up to the present he continues to provide visitors timely personal finance and wealth building advice and articles—including real estate advice—on 3 sites that he has created since 2010. 

Even though he is an active real estate Broker in the Atlanta Metropolitan area, he continues to blog consistently to help visitors and those who desire lasting financial and life changing success the opportunity to change their life for the better in a more efficient way. 

You can learn more about him and gain access to all three sites that he has created by going to Who is the creator of page.

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