Your credit score is generally referred to as a Beacon Score in Canada. We suggest you protect this like gold. Did you know that it takes a full six years for something to "fall off" your credit bureau? Credit scores range from 300 (poor) to 900 (great). The ideal score is 700+. Having no credit score is worse than having a bad score, so we suggest to always have two trade lines going to keep your score strong. Examples of trade lines are credit cards, department store cards, lines of credit, investment loans, or car loans.

Warning, cell phone companies have been reporting to your credit bureau for years and lenders pay attention to your payment history.

There are two organizations that monitor your credit, Transunion & Equifax (more recognized). We strongly encourage you to sign up for Equifax's monthly monitoring. For a small monthly fee you will be notified the minute any changes happen on your credit bureau. Good or bad. This is a great fraud prevention tool!

If you don’t have 20% down (most don’t in the Vancouver market) then you will be forced to use high-ratio or default insurance. In this case you will be rejected if you have a credit score of less than 620.

How to protect your credit: - Never get within 75% of your trade limit. Exceeding this number will negatively affect your credit. Never reach your limit and NEVER exceed your limit - If you do, it will take 30 to 60 days for your credit score to recover - Always pay your bills on time - Have at least two trades (over $2,500 limits) - Minimize hard checks on your credit. Soft checks have no effect (when you check your own credit score)

Home Equity Solutions offers a very creative credit analysis tool that uses an algorithm on your Equifax account to establish exactly how many points you can recover on your credit score within 45 and 120 days. This is currently being offered for free on their website for existing home owners and is valued at $199.