You are right to be concerned about your credit score. A score placing you in a high risk category will cost you plenty in increased finance charges in the mortgage note (or even prevent you from getting a now).
The cost of housing has ballooned to the point where even a fraction of an interest point can cost you serious money. You should make the correction of your credit reports a priority before committing to buy. You can use the dispute procedure provided by the Fair Credit Reporting Act to get your credit report in the best possible condition before applying for a mortgage, if there are errors on your credit report. This federal law gives the consumer important rights such as the requirement that a disputed entry be verified with the creditor by the reporting agency within 30 days of the dispute.
So, say you disputed the cell phone bill (maybe the balances are wrong, or maybe you never missed your payments even though they show up as late). TransUnion, Equifax, or Experian receives the written notice of the dispute from you. The bureau then has 30 days to verify that the entry was correct or it must remove the entry. An entire service industry, known as ?credit repair? has grown up around those pro-consumer provisions. If you hire someone to go through the dispute process for you for a fee, make sure that they are reputable and know your specific situation. The savings you will potentially see in reduced interest rates on the mortgage and the car note coming up might justify the fees, which are affordable.
Therefore, step one is to lay hands on the same report that any prospective creditor will see when you apply for credit. You don?t know which the prospective mortgage lender will use before you apply, so it behooves you to acquire a copy of each.
Our federal legislators also have made it convenient. And, since you use the internet, you can download your reports, once each calendar year, for free. Go to AnnualCreditReport.com and follow the links to the download pages. Now you can see exactly which of your creditors have filed some data about your account with them. Some account summaries should be favorable, some not (like the two you mention), some accounts you will have never heard of, some will be all too familiar. Your job is to challenge any information posted by any current or former creditor of yours that is erroneous in any respect, posted by a creditor you don?t recognize as having been at any time a creditor of yours, or being reported by the agency outside the time for that type of information as set out in the Fair Credit Reporting Act.
Also, keep in mind that the effect on your credit score of unsecured debts, like the two you mention, is less than that of secured debts, such as car notes, so these two accounts may not be causing as much damage as you may think.
If you would like more information or would like to hire the services of a credit repair professional, please visit our credit resource page at: http://www.bills.com/credit/
Best of luck,