Okay, you've made mistakes, and that's why you're looking for home loans for men and women with bad credit. But that's not the kind of mistakes we're talking about here. These are mistakes made by credit reporting companies. Studies show that almost 80 percent of credit reports contain errors, and one-fourth contain errors serious enough to get you declined for home loans! For people with bad credit, that's just insult to injury. So here are the 5 biggies to look out for.

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#1 Zero balance--Really!

It's not uncommon to pay off an account, even close it, and having reports show balanced owed. Typically, this mistake is the result of the creditor not reporting to the credit bureau that the account had been paid in full. It affects credit utilization, which makes up 30 percent of your score. If you have $6,000 of available credit and use $2,000 but your credit report shows you using $5,000, that's going to hurt.

#2 Collection? No way!

Often, credit reports show collections that have been paid or never existed. This is especially common with medical bills but happens with other creditors too. The company mistakenly sends your account to collection and it gets reported even if you paid the bill.

#3 The debt that hangs on

Even true bad credit is supposed to drop off eventually, most items after 7 years and bankruptcies after ten years. The standard method for calculating the seven-year reporting period is to start from the date that the event took place.

#4 That's not me!

Accounts not opened by you and derogatory information not belonging to you don't always come from identity theft. Folks with similar names in the same area may get their credit data crossed. That's because credit reporting is not always based on Social Security Number or other unique identifiers. And identity thieves may use you to get a job, to get medical care, to get stuff on EBay, etc.

#5 That IS me!

Eight percent of credit reports are missing accounts that make you look good--and if you have bad credit you need all the help you can get.