More and more these days, it seems I am running into buyers and borrowers that just have, for some reason or another, decided to stop using creditor that report to the credit bureaus.
For some clients, this is a REAL BAD THING, because their credit scores were bad before, and since there has been no recent activity, the bad scores are frozen in time, as well.
These potential borrower have one thing to do and one thing only - GET THAT SCORE UP IMMEDIATELY. There are several ways to do this, but there is one way I recommend to most people in this situation: Find a prepaid credit card company (two or three actually, if you really want to get your credit in good condition quickly), and pay the fee. Charge on the card, and make sure you carry a balance of 1/3 of credit limit at all times. If there is a possibility of a debt-to-income ratio issue, simply pay off the balance 45 to 60 days prior to signing a mortgage loan application. And it should work. I have had several clients to follow this formula, and it seems to turn out in a positive way. However, the borrower must be patient. It can take up to a year of seasoning to maximize the effects of the new credit and diminish the old bad credit on the credit report.
For others, it's a good thing. Their credit scores appear to "freeze" in time, holding up that same numbers as the last time there was any activity by the borrower. These borrower have the scores to qualify for a mortgage loan immediately, but do not meet the tradeline qualification quantities or seasoning required by the lender.
That's when Alternative Credit Data comes into play. Lenders understand (yes, they ACTUALLY understand this, at least some of them do) that not everyone uses credit to live. A lot of people use alternative means - barter, money orders, checks (remember checks ?) and cash to actually pay to live. So there is a system set in place where a borrower can use alternative credit to get around normal credit requirements.
First and foremost, a borrower that will use alternative credit must know in advance they will do so, that way they can make sure their cell phone, electrical and gas bills are in their (the borrowers) name. The alternative credit account(s) must be in the borrowers name. Otherwise, alternative credit will not work.
There are different levels, or tiers, given to alternative tradelines:
Each tier has a descending level of importance, with the Tier I alternative tradelines carrying the most weight, and the the Tier III tradelines carrying the least. For instance, proof of 12 months Rental Housing payments are so strong, they often double as Verification of Rent and as 1 of the necessary 3 tradelines needed to meet the the alternative tradeline requirements.
There is one caveat to all of this is - with any source of alternative credit provided, you cannot be late. You are putting the last nail in your coffin if you provide documentation with a history of lates. Take my advice - Don't do it.
You will get the benefit of the service being provided to you, and have the ability to tap into this source when you are ready to take the plunge and buy a new home, without the hassle of maintaining the much heralded credit score rating...