However, should you dispute multiple obligations, it could reflect poorly on you in the eyes of the underwriter as a blatant attempt to avoid paying legitimate obligations. This really hurts you most when you need that same underwriter to give you an exception on guidelines. Character does count!
For accounts that were included in a bankruptcy, but still report, you must send a dispute letter, copy of you bankruptcy filing and the listing of creditors to each of the agencies that report the debt. If the creditor is a "collection" agency of the original creditor, this will be removed entirely from your report (typically gaining bonus FICO). If the original creditor was not listed on your list of creditors, they were not included in the bankruptcy by your attorney. In this instance, without having to get an attorney involved, send a dispute letter, along with your bankruptcy filing (less the list of creditors) and your discharge notice. Typically, this will get these items removed/corrected even if they weren't on the list of creditors.
WHAT TO DO IF YOU CANNOT CONTACT A CREDITOR
In some instances, you may be unable to contact a creditor at the current listed number. Do your due diligence. A good source for locating phone numbers nationwide is WWW.VERIZON.COM and WWW.YAHOO.COM Yellow Pages. So long as you know the state, you have a good chance of finding them. Also, you can do a search using GOOGLE and YAHOO and chances are you will find them if they're still in business.
If after doing your due diligence, you are still unable to locate a phone number, then and only then, should you dispute the obligation. Within the dispute letter, you should state the fact you have attempted to contact the creditor for further explanation of the debt and request the agency provide you with the correct contact information or the removal of the file from your credit report.
WHAT TO DO WITH THE REST
With accounts that are last reported over TWO years ago, set aside the funds you need to settle these accounts. (Again, typically 50% of the amount owed). If you need a better idea of a settlement amount, simply call the creditor and ask. But don't settle yet! These items must be negotiated to settle just before your closing.
Once you have begun the mortgage application process, you can then review your remaining plan with the Lender, Broker, Bank so they may include it within the write up for underwriting. They should then advise you on how and when to address these remaining obligations.
This is cleaning up your credit in a nut shell!
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