How to save your credit score for real estate

There’s not much time left before the malls are flooded with busy holiday shoppers. And for the yearlong planners, the shopping probably started a long time ago. A recent blogfrom VantageScore emphasizes the importance of making sure shoppers don’t destroy their credit score right before the busiest home-buying season.

The holidays may still seem far off, but when the possibility of securing a home in the spring is on the line, the time to plan is now.

So what is the main area where consumers hurt their credit during the holidays? Credit cards.

Here’s what VantageScore suggests to consumers:

First and foremost, if you apply for a new credit card or higher spending limits on existing cards for the holiday season, the card issuers will probably request your credit score from one or more of the national credit reporting companies (CRCs), Equifax, Experian and TransUnion. The same is true if a new car is on your shopping list or if you choose to open a store credit card account. Just as they would at any other time of year, those score inquiries from lenders can cause a dip in your credit score.

The shopping-season strategy here is twofold: You want to maximize your score before applying for this holiday-related credit, and you want to avoid having these holiday loans lower your score in advance of any major borrowing you may be planning in the early months of the new year.