If you’ve talked with a representative at a credit repair company, then they probably told you how long it can take to repair your credit on your own.
And they’re not wrong. It takes time and perseverance to get errors removed from your credit report. You have to send letters of dispute, sometimes multiple letters to each credit reporting bureau. You have to follow up on those letters. Often you will need to hunt down your creditors, which can be easier said than done.
But here’s what you probably weren’t told: it will be worth it. With some planning, organizing, perseverance and above all, patience, you will see results. Improving your credit score can save you thousands of dollars in lower interest rates. A higher score can help you get a mortgage. It can help you get a car loan.
You should also keep in mind that while DIY credit repair can take a long time, almost all of that time is eaten up in waiting. The actual work of gathering your credit reports and writing dispute letters will only take a few hours each month. You’ll have to be organized so you don’t miss any crucial steps, but your actual time investment isn’t out of this world. What you will have to do is wait and have patience.
Where to start: the first month
Your credit repair journey begins with your credit reports.
Thankfully, by law you’re entitled to one free credit report per year. You can get your free credit report at annualcreditreport.com.
If you’ve already requested a free credit report, and it hasn’t been a year yet, then go ahead and pay for your reports. It is absolutely necessary and should only put you back roughly $30.
Once you have your credit reports (from all three bureaus) in front of you, go over them with a fine tooth comb. And then go over them again. Highlight any potential errors and dubious items.
Once you’ve identified errors that you wish to dispute, go about writing credit dispute letters. If you’re completely lost on how to write a credit dispute letter, thankfully there are many templates you can find online. Although you can include multiple errors on a single dispute letter, it’s safer to write a separate letter for each dispute. That way the credit bureaus will be much less likely to overlook an error.
Print off two copies of each credit dispute letter, keeping one for your records. Finally, after just a few hours of work, gather your dispute letters and head off to the post office to mail them to the credit bureaus.
That’s it for the first month. Now you have to wait for responses to come trickling in, which brings us to:
Following through on your dispute letters: the second month
After a full month (or longer) of waiting, you should receive the responses to your credit dispute letters. Once you’ve gathered all of them, it’s time to sit down and take stock of your progress.
If you’ve already gotten a few negative items removed by this time, congratulations! Those were the easy ones. It’s more likely that the response letters were informing you that the credit bureau had received your letter, and were opening an investigation into the claims.
If you receive a letter saying that they’ve denied your claim and won’t remove the negative item, it doesn’t have to end there. Your next step is to write a debt validation letter to the collection agency, or a letter to the original creditor. Again, you don’t have to start from scratch here; take advantage of free letter templates online.
After you’ve mailed your next batch of letters and filed away copies and responses for your records, the waiting game continues.
Rinse and repeat: the third month and onward
In the third month and beyond, you’ll continue gathering responses and writing follow-up letters. Don’t let yourself get frustrated; sometimes it takes six months to a year before you get desirable results. You will spend dozens of dollars in postage, but that’s nothing compared to the money you’ll be saving once your credit is repaired.
Don’t let yourself get frustrated. Remember that credit repair is essentially a waiting game, and as long as you invest a few hours each month you will see results. And if all this sounds like too much effort, you can always hire a credit repair company. (Before you do, ask yourself these 4 questions.)
To get a free credit repair consultation, call 1-(855) 620-5875, or visit lexingtonlaw.com.
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