Preparing Your Credit for a Major Purchase

April 12, 2024 | 3 min read

Credit Saint

Written By:

Credit Saint

Ashley Davison

Reviewed By:

Ashley Davison

When planning a major purchase like a home or car, one of the most crucial steps is ensuring your credit is in top shape. Good credit not only increases your chances of loan approval but also secures better interest rates, saving you money in the long run. Here’s how to prepare your credit for such significant financial decisions:

1. Understand Your Credit Score

Begin by checking your credit score through a reliable service. Understanding where your credit stands is vital in knowing how much work you need to do to prepare for a major purchase. Remember, different lenders may use different scoring models, so be aware of the criteria for the loan you’re considering.

2. Review Your Credit Reports

Obtain your credit reports from the three major bureaus: Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion. Scrutinize them for any errors or discrepancies that could be negatively impacting your score, such as incorrect personal information, outdated account statuses, or incorrect balances.

3. Dispute Any Errors

If you find errors in your credit reports, dispute them immediately with the respective credit bureaus. Removing these inaccuracies can positively impact your credit score.

4. Reduce Debt Balances

Your credit utilization ratio – how much credit you’re using compared to your total credit limit – significantly affects your credit score. Aim to keep this ratio below 30%, and ideally lower, by paying down credit card balances and other revolving credit lines.

5. Avoid New Credit Inquiries

Each time you apply for new credit, a hard inquiry is recorded on your credit report, which can temporarily lower your score. In the months leading up to your major purchase, avoid applying for new credit unless absolutely necessary.

6. Ensure Timely Bill Payments

Your payment history is the most significant factor in your credit score. Pay all your bills on time, including non-credit bills like rent and utilities, as late payments can severely impact your credit.

7. Increase Your Credit Limits

If you have credit cards, consider asking for a credit limit increase. This can instantly lower your credit utilization ratio, as long as you don’t increase your spending.

8. Consider the Age of Your Credit

Lenders often look at the age of your credit accounts, with longer credit histories being more favorable. Avoid closing older credit accounts before applying for a major loan, as this can decrease your average account age.

9. Be Consistent and Patient

Building or improving credit takes time and consistent effort. Start preparing your credit well in advance of your major purchase to ensure the best possible outcome.

10. Consult with a Financial Advisor

If you’re unsure about your credit situation or how to improve it, consider speaking with a financial advisor. They can provide personalized advice based on your financial situation and goals.

Bottom Line

Preparing your credit for a major purchase is an essential step in your financial journey. By taking these steps to improve and maintain your credit, you position yourself as a more attractive borrower, which can lead to better loan terms and significant long-term savings. Remember, the key to successful credit preparation is starting early and being consistent in your financial habits.

Ashley Davison

Reviewed By:

Ashley Davison


Ashley is currently the Chief Compliance Officer for Credit Saint, previously the Chief Operating Officer. Ashley got into the Financial world by working as a Logistics Coordinator at Ernst & Young. Coming from a previous career in education, she is eager to teach the world everything she knows and learn everything that she doesn’t! Ashley is a FICO® certified professional, a Board Certified Credit Consultant, a Certified Credit Score Consultant with the Credit Consultants Association of America, UDAAP certified, and holds a Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) Compliance Certificate.