One reason people should take extra care to protect their credit score is that conditions may be the best they will be for a long time when it comes to getting a new mortgage.
Right now, average mortgage rates have been hovering around 5 percent, a relatively low percentage that is made even more attractive by the continued availability of the federal homebuyer tax credit. However, this may not be the case for long.
The mortgage rate is widely expected to go up later this year once the Federal Reserve has stopped its $1 trillion program to help sustain the housing market and reassure nervous investors by investing in mortgage-backed securities. Another factor to consider is the pending expiration of the homebuyer tax credit, which will no longer apply to binding contracts signed after April 30.
A recent report in the San Francisco Chronicle cited Guy Cecala of Inside Mortgage Finance as predicting that rates will rise by "a full percentage point initially" once the Fed does stop its securities-buying program.
Since the best rates are available only to those with the best credit score, it makes sense to take whatever steps are necessary to keep up with payments and to avoid falling victim to crimes like identity theft.