Should you check your credit report before applying for a mortgage? As Ned Flanders of The Simpsons might say, "Yes, indeedily doodily." That's a very smart thing to do. You may well discover some errors that can be fixed before a loan officer evaluates the report and makes a decision based on it. It would be a bummer to get turned down for a mortgage because your credit report inexplicably says that you missed six payments on a hovercraft. Make sure your report is error-free before you apply for a mortgage.

Information that is accurate but negative will remain on your report for a while -- usually seven years, but 10 for bankruptcies. You can still lessen the sting of that information, though, by paying your bills on time. Credit issuers tend to give more weight to your recent bill-paying history, so a clean record for the last year or two can make a real difference.

We've got a Fool article on the anatomy of a credit report and one on how to deal with bad data on your credit report.

There's a lot more to learn about your credit record and credit score. Take some time to brush up, and it could save you thousands when you want to borrow money. Here are some enlightening articles on the topic by Fool credit expert Dayana Yochim:

Learn more about credit cards and credit reports at our nifty new Credit Center. You can even check out our exciting new Fool Credit Card there, too. (Of course, learn more and shop around before selecting any new credit card.)

You'll find more homebuying tips, as well as mortgage information, in our Home Center. In addition, drop by our Buying or Selling a Home discussion board.