Do you ever wonder what your credit is like? If you're thinking about going house hunting in the St.Clair area, this might be a good time to find out what your credit report has to say. State and Federal laws entitle you to receive this disclosure copy of your credit file.

First, let's learn exactly what a credit report is. As a consumer, your credit file is maintained by different consumer reporting companies. By obtaining a credit file disclosure, or credit report, you will be able to see what information is being disclosed to certain parties, such as a lender if you're attempting to get a loan to buy a home, when they request a consumer report about you.

You'll also be able to see what companies have gotten your consumer report from the consumer reporting company (also known as inquiries) within a certain period of time. These may include pre-approved offers for credit cards or insurance. The credit report will also show you if there is any medical account information which is not shown to these third-party consumer report users.

Why is it important to see your credit report? One of the main reasons is to combat identity theft by keeping track of your credit report. If your credit report shows actions being taken that you did not authorize, an identity thief may be attempting to use your credit.

You can obtain one free credit report a year from these three nationwide consumer credit reporting companies: Equifax, Experian and TransUnion. To help you get your free credit reports, these companies have created a centralized service for you to go to and request your free credit reports.

This service is called AnnualCreditReport.com, and you can get your free credit report from each of the three companies mentioned above for free, once every 12 months, either online, by phone or by mail. You can order all three at once to make it easy to compare them, or spread it out over time to keep an eye on things all year long. For example, you might order a credit report from Equifax in January, from Experian in May, and from TransUnion in September -- in other words every four months, which lets you monitor your credit report all year long, at no cost to you.

For your own peace of mind, why not check out your credit report, especially if you're hoping to buy a home in the near future. If you want to move to the great St. Clair area, or if you're already here and need help buying or selling a home, I can help! Please contact me, Scott Hickinbotham, at 636-629-3419 or online. Let's make St. Clair a great place to call home.