Mortgage qualification dos and don'ts

Higher credit requirements put many at disadvantage

DEAR BERNICE: We have been saving up to buy our first home. We have a number of credit cards, some with no balance. My brother thinks it would be smart to get rid of those cards that have no balance. He claims it will make it easier for us to qualify for our loan. Is that a good idea? –Amanda S.

DEAR AMANDA: To protect yourself and to determine how much you can qualify for in terms of a loan, order a copy of your credit report. There are three primary credit reporting bureaus: Equifax, Experian and TransUnion ( is a service created and sponsored by these three bureaus). The law entitles you to have a free copy of your report once per year from each credit bureau.