Next, begin rebuilding your credit. If you have current accounts with good payment histories, or even some previous late-payment-blemishes, make sure you continue to pay those accounts on time. If you do not have any existing credit accounts then you'll need to establish several in order to create a viable credit history.
I have found that CONSUMER ACTION is an excellent resource for objective advice on all things credit related. You'll find free and sincere advice on everything from settling collection accounts to rebuilding credit to building credit from scratch on their website. http://consumer-action.org/
Beware of anyone offering to "repair" your credit! The Federal Trade Commission issued a stern warning last year that such offers are scams. Find more from the FTC HERE. http://www.ftc.gov/bcp/edu/pubs/consumer/credit/cre13.shtm
The best way to buy a home is to have a decent credit history combined with sufficient Income and Assets for a home purchase.
The best way to have a decent credit history is to settle negative outstanding obligations and pay all your bills on time for at least two years.
Keller Williams Realty
It's a good basic primer and may give you the answer you need.
Certified Short Sale Professional
Coldwell Banker Brentwood West
11999 San Vicente Blvd. Suite 100
Los Angeles, CA 90049
Blogging at: http://TheBremnerGroup.com/blog
The key is to see when the collection were last reported. If the collection agency updates the account monthly like a credit card company does, paying it off will help. If the collection was orginally reported 1+ years ago and has not updated since, paying it off may not raise your score and can even lower it.
Your credit report will show the last time the account was updated. Check to see the "Last reported" date for the collections and only pay off the ones that are reported recently.