If you’re contemplating buying a new Atlanta home, remember what all mortgage lenders are looking for in a relationship. It’s similar to what all of us want: someone well rounded and reliable with no skeletons in the closet.

There’s no need to fill your shelves with self help books to get yourself ready for this relationship, though. Just go to the

Equifax Personal Finance blog, hosted by one of the three national credit reporting agencies. Professionals from Equifax answer some of their most commonly asked questions, and you’ll also find expert advice on real estate, taxes, insurance and retirement.

A recent post, “Debt Reduction: Why paying down your credit card helps your credit score,”  describes how credit scores are calculated. Turns out, the credit reporting agencies aren’t out to get us. We are masters of our own credit scores. Who would have thought?

According to the article, the two most important factors in calculating your credit score are your payment history and the amounts you owe/available credit balances. It’s important to have some room to charge more when mortgage companies are checking your credit. But you don’t want to have enough room to get into trouble. Don’t go opening lots of new accounts!

In fact, your available balance and paying your bills on time account for 65 percent of your credit score. Other factors that are important: new credit accounts (see above), length of credit history, and types of accounts (that’s where the “well-rounded” feature comes into play).

Make the

Equifax Personal Finance blog your new financial self help resource today by having new posts delivered to your inbox. As in any relationship, there’s lots to learn every day.

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