Mortgage payments can boost even an embarrassingly low credit score, and their presence could help you refinance or take out a home equity loan. However, those payments can't help your rep at all if they don't show up on your credit report. If your mortgage isn't on yours, it could be because it's old or someone made a clerical error. Whatever the reason is, you need to make the first move to get those payment reports where they belong.
If you just took out your mortgage, it can take up to 60 days for the lender to report it to the credit bureaus. Check again in a month or two, and even then check all three. Some lenders only report mortgage payments to one. You can get one free credit report from each bureau per year. After that, you'll have to cough up some cash or join a credit monitoring service.
Mortgages don't stay on your credit report forever, which can be a good and bad thing. It doesn't matter if you've paid in good faith, or even defaulted, it's likely to fade from your report after seven years. In that way, it's similar to bankruptcies and lawsuits. Lawsuits fall off of your credit after seven years, or at the end of your state's statute of limitations. Bankruptcies will mar your report for 10 years.
Owner financing can be a good option if you trust the seller or find ones willing to give you some leeway with credit or your down payment. This is nice, but it doesn't always help your credit. Individual sellers don't have to report your mortgage, and some don't know that they can or should. If yours is owner-financed, you need to ask the seller to make the report.
If your mortgage has vanished from your report, or shows the wrong amount, it could be due to a simple human error. The three credit bureaus will let you add it, but you'll have to make this request in writing. You'll also need to give the bureau the lender's address and loan amount. Each credit bureau lists contact information on its website. Follow up after a month. If your mortgage is still missing, you'll need to contract the bureau a second time.
- FreeScore.com: When Your Loan is Invisible on Your Credit Report
- Federal Trade Commission: Free Credit Reports
- File Bankruptcy in Arizona: How Does a Delinquent Mortgage Impact Credit?
- My FICO: How Long Will Negative Information Remain on My Credit Report?
- Nolo: Adding Positive Information to Your Credit Report
Van Thompson is an attorney and writer. A former martial arts instructor, he holds bachelor's degrees in music and computer science from Westchester University, and a juris doctor from Georgia State University. He is the recipient of numerous writing awards, including a 2009 CALI Legal Writing Award.