Jason's advice is spot on for immediate credit items. Look at your credit, pay down balances, dispute items that aren't correct and be sure to pay your bills on time. Thumbs up for Jason!
Also, if you're a first time buyer, it's worth looking to see what 1st time buyer programs are out there in your state. I'm not familiar with NJ programs, but there are many Down Payment Assistance programs for 1st time buyers that may help you buy a home with little to no money down. I would research this.
As both responses state, you should get a copy of your credit. You can obtain one free report from each bureau. You can access this by going to http://www.annualcreditreport.com . This site takes you to each individual credit bureau's website and access your credit report from them. What's better is if you find an item you want to dispute, you can usually dispute the item right there on their website which is much faster than sending a dispute letter.
Lastly, if you've done everything you can to clean up items on your credit and you want tips on how to build your credit, you may find this blog helpful:
I discuss how to build your credit so you can qualiy for a mortgage. Even consumers who have bankruptcies and foreclosures can get a house in as little as 2-3 years if they handle their credit properly. The judgments and liens topic that Jason mentioned is vital because liens must be released before you can close on a house.
There are a few things you can do clean up your credit:
First, get a proper tri-merge credit report pulled. This is not the same thing as a consumer credit report provided from individual agencies. A mortgage professional can help with this. You need to know your scores and what debts are reporting for each credit bureau.
Second, start with easy stuff. Are there open collections, judgments, or liens on your credit? If so, determine if they should be there or if they are a mistake. If they are the result of a clerical error you can contact the company at fault and request a letter stating as much. This can be submitted (for free) to each bureau and they will remove the debt in 45-60 days. If the collections are supposed to be there you should consider paying them off if possible.
Third, start going through your tradeline history. Are there late payments that are not supposed to be there? If so, follow the same procedure for removing these as the collections above. If they are supposed to be there keep in mind that scores will generally rise with time from delinquency. For mortgages, it will generally take 12 months before late payments no longer affect your ability to qualify for a mortgage.
Finally, take a look at your credit card balances. As a rule of thumb you should try to keep your balances to 30% of your limits. Pay down as much as you can whenever possible. Be careful NOT to close your credit accounts once your balances hit $0. Part of your credit scores are determined by length of time your tradelines are open. Closing them can cause damage to your scores. Cut up the cards if you like, but don't close them.
Your profile above lists you as a renter. If you are cleaning up your credit to buy a home you should consider an FHA mortgage. It allows 3.5% for the down payment and credit scores as low as 620. This gives many new homeowners flexibility to manage the unexpected costs they will incur when they move in.
Best of luck to you!
E Mortgage Management
Heres a link to 20 credit scoring myths: http://personalbudgeting.suite101.com/article.cfm/10-credit-
Credit myths part 2: http://personalbudgeting.suite101.com/article.cfm/20-credit-
I would suggest as a first step you obtain a copy of your credit report and review it with a credit/mortgage professional.
You may want to payoff some items and it may actually be better to leave some accounts open.
You may want to establish some new credit if possible.
Here is my recent blog on credit: http://activerain.com/blogsview/1660013/tips-for-improving-y
One suggestion is find yourself a financial advisor and he/she can take a look at your credit and other financial documents and can put you on track to a strong credit.
Best of luck.