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  1. First off, wasn't sure if this or regular credit forum was the right spot. Feel free to tow if necessary. Also, I get a little over analytical and long winded at times so I apologize in advance. TL;DR version: His 630ish, Hers 700ish. No baddies/negs just really high utilization. Can we get scores up in 6-9 months at earliest? Or 12-18 months? This is my first thread. I've been reading a bunch all weekend, stumbled upon CB after googling something and it's been a pretty good resource. A little about me, 27, married just finished grad school and started my first "real" job in August. Had credit cards since I was a sophomore in college, did a pretty good job keeping balances low. Got married 5 years ago at end of undergrad and balances have kinda crept up since then. Past year, things got a little out of control, some spending and I had a gambling problem (blackjack, under control and thankfully before it got seriously out of hand, 20k is nothing to laugh off but it could have gotten much much worse based on some other stories I've read). We had previously purchased a house in 2010 near Memphis when I was starting grad school and wife was teaching. I ended up finding a job back north closer to her family so we moved in late July to MD. House didn't sell until late November (crappy realtor, poor pricing/market, yadda, yadda, yadda) and we ended up having to borrow money from my parents to take to closing to get out of it but thankfully avoided short sale and never got behind on mortgage. Ending up with about $22k in capitol gains loss if my math is right (impressive on a <100k house right?). Currently renting but want to buy at earliest end of summer when current lease is up (went from $700 mortgage to $1200 rent, STICKER SHOCK) So in the past year my utilization went from 30-40% to >90% and wifes went from 10-20% to >90%. We applied for a mortgage in May/June when we were optimistic our house would sell and we'd have some equity to reinvest in a starter home. Clean reports at that point, no lates, everything in good status. June 13, 2014: My scores: 696 EQ; 700 TU; 682 EX Her scores: 768 EQ; 769 TU; 761 EX I'd started to do Lending Club in August to consolidate things but unfortunately couldn't income verify b/c even though I had letter stating my salary, I work for school system and first pay wasn't until 9/15. Currently my Credit Karma says 630 as does free score with my Discover and I also did a soft with Lending Club again that showed the same score (Denied Recent overlimit of a bankcard trade <--- Discover being essentially maxed out interest fee would put me over, it's been paid down to where that won't occur Increase in non-mortgage debt in last 6 months Insufficient income for the loan product requested Excessive utilization on credit cards over last 12 months Wife currently showing 695 on credit karma and 701 on her free FICO included with Barclays Barnes&Noble MC. My current credit: AMEX (charge I think) Balance $4770 Limit $4900 (previous 8k-ish but got chopped when I wasn't paying balance down fast enough) Discover Balance $14200 Limit $14600 (two increases since june) Lowes (SyncB) Balance $0 Limit $1000 (haven't used in a few years but still shows open on TU CR I just pulled) Goodyear (CBNA) Balance $1200 Limit $2000 Paypal Smart (SyncB) Balance $300 Limit $400 AU Cards Barclay MC (Barnes & Noble) Balance $3400 Limit $3500 AAA BofA VIsa Balance $1400 Limit $1500 (never received card and thought it was just wife's but it's showing on my TU CR also) Installment Orion FCU 12k balance on auto loan at 1.99% Student Loans $120k federal, $25k private (working in school system, majority of balance will be forgiven with PSLF, know I need to pay the private, already on IBR) Have a few closed positives - Old Navy, 2 jewelry stores, and an installment from when we put 12k into foundation Personal 10k to parents & in laws which helped with some moving/living expenses and getting out of mortgage - 0% and told to make this low priority Wife: Barclay MC (Barnes & Noble) Balance $3400 Limit $3500 AAA BofA VIsa Balance $1400 Limit $1500 Kohls (CapOne) Balance $300 Limit $400 Limited (Comenity) Balance $0 Limit $1000 Installment Toyota Financial $2200 left on her car at 7ish% $19k federal student loans - also will get some loan forgiveness as she's a teacher So from what I've gathered, the reason for plummeting scores is due to rapidly increased utilization and the key to getting utilization down would be decreasing balances/increasing limits and new TL. Her's doesn't need huge bump, mine needs significant. Doing basic snowball for most part except tackling her Toyota financial first as that has best mix of big payment/low balance (frees up the most monthly working capitol) with monthly payment of about $270. Should be paid off at end of January. Grossing $115k joint, monthly take home of about $6k net (each have mandatory pension contributions of 7-8% & taxes in MD are high). I picked up a second job waiting tables at everyone's favorite chain Italian restaurant a few nights a week and though it's only been a few weeks, seem to be bringing home $200+ cash per week. She'll also have some limited after school tutoring additional income of about 150-200/week Feb-May. I believe we can get access to NFCU (wife's sister's husband is in Air Force) as we're possibly interested in their 100% mortgage. On 200k house with taxes/insurance would be right in the neighborhood of what we're already paying in rent. Also looks like NASA CU has a 100% morgage for DC/MD/VA/PA area we could also use. NFCU sounds like it might be a good opportunity to get something with a high CL which would really help utilization. Also, I've gotten a 0% BT CC offer the from the CU where my car loan is through and wife has gotten 0% BT offer from discover so considering attempting to open those and transfer some of my discover balance to those. Am I correct in understanding that the AMEX, as a charge not revolver doesn't actually affect utilization? (which would then mean tackling my Discover in the snowball before the AMEX to improve utilization?) Current plan of attack will be knocking out kohls, my paypal, goodyear, wifes visa & MC (both of which I'm AU on which) will also help my utilization correct? Does this seem reasonable approach for getting scores back up and getting approved for mortgage in 7-9 months? If not then the possibly following spring? Won't qualify for USDA due to combined income and since we are a household don't think we can apply individually or would that be an option? Was under impression they look at total household? Did FHA on previous mortgage but with changes to PMI would like to avoid that if possible. Also amazing how big a difference there can be in property taxes in unincorporated versus incorporated homes. Seeing homes with similar value have a 1000-1500 difference in property taxes being in town vs out in country (which makes a big difference in total monthly payment). Am I being reasonable with the 9-24 month goal or should I really focus on finding a new place to rent when lease is up (need bigger yard for dogs 20x15 fenced in duplex yard isn't cutting it) and plan on buying 3-5 years out? Have definitely seen homes in area we like majority in the 180-220k range. Occasionally as low as 160k. Using 28/43 F/B DTI ratios Total min payments (excl wife's car which is being paid off in next month) 1784 Approx gross monthly- 9500 43% Back = 4085 - 1784 = leaves 2301 for housing We're wanting something 1500 or less so we should be well under DTI ratios Front end we'd need to be under 2600. Don't want to get anywhere near that. As an aside, for my wife straight out of grad school with 41k teaching salary, she got approved up to 144k. Thankfully we stayed under a 100. TIA for your feedback.

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