Get Credit Score in Shape Before You Shop For Home--SPONSORSHIP

Recent news that more than 25 percent of Americans have credit scores below 600 sends up yet another flare in the real estate world. Securing a mortgage these days isn't easy. Even if you've managed to save for a 20 percent down payment, it won't do you any good if you can't borrow the rest of the money to purchase your dream home.

If your credit rating is sagging, no bank is going to approve your loan. And if you are hoping to take advantage of historically low mortgage interest rates, you want to do everything you can to get your credit rating into shape to secure the best mortgage possible.

The bad news about credit scores was tempered by some good news: The number of people with credit scores over 800 - 850 is the highest sore - increased in the past year, to 17.9 percent. Undoubtedly a lot of people have curbed their spending and been paying down debt.

If you want to boost your credit score, you can take a page from these high achievers. Paying down debt is a good start. But is there anything else you can do to boost your score?