Buying a new house is not simply a matter of finding the perfect home in the perfect neighborhood. There’s also the not-so-little matter of paying for that home. And though interest rates remain low, the economic downturn and challenges in the financial markets have made financing harder to come by.

The solution? Keeping your credit score high, or better yet, boosting it. That’s true whether your record is excellent or needs some work. A good credit score will help you get a loan easier and quicker. Here are a few tips to help those scores get better, which will improve your ability to get financing and lessen the cost.

Review your current credit report for accuracy. Everyone is entitled to one free credit report per year from each of the three credit bureaus, Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion. Don’t assume that everything is accurate — get a copy of your credit report and look at it for accuracy.

If there are any mistakes or inaccuracies, get them corrected. You can contact the credit bureaus directly. If you’re unsure about the procedures, the staff at your bank, credit union or lending institution may help. But ultimately it is your responsibility.

Pay your bills, and pay them on time. It sounds like common sense, and it is, but it is no less important for that. Your payment history accounts for about 35 percent of your score.

Just say no. Harder to do this time of year, of course, but opening the new charge account will directly and negatively impact your ability to borrow for a home. So will piling more debt on your existing cards. Sure, it’s great to have a pile of presents under the tree, but think how much nicer it will be to have that tree in a new home.

Thinking of moving to Traverse City? Check out the fun first.