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Every payment you make shapes your credit file and could impact your housing options.

Your credit file is like a screenshot of the way you behave with respect to credit and suppliers. It shows if you pay your bills on time, how much you've borrowed--to buy a car, for example--and if you carry a balance. Your credit file provides financial institutions and landlords with information about your solvability. It's important to take a look at this file and learn how to read it.

You're looking to rent
Good credit will make signing a lease a lot easier. Your future landlord will like to know that you're a reliable person and able to pay the rent on time every month.

You're looking to buy
Good credit will help you secure a mortgage that fits your needs--paying your bills on time now will really pay off in the long run.

Before you shop around for your mortgage, check your credit file for errors. Because your mortgage lender will look at your credit file before approving your mortgage, make sure all of the information in it is correct.

Think about your reputation
You can request a copy of your credit file at no charge by writing to a credit reporting agency, or you can see it online for a fee. Having this information will help you take stock of your financial situation and make any adjustments before applying for a major loan.

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