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Is This a Reasonable Fear?


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Currently, I'm preparing to apply for a mortgage as a First-Time Home Buyer. I'm buying the house that I currently live in from my parents who currently own the home--so I'm not facing competition from other potential buyers. Currently, my FICO scores are the following: TU--682; EX--677, EX--669. This months, I'm paying off both of my two credit cards to below 15% utilization (both of them are maxed out, but current with no lates) which I know will bring up all my scores. As additional background on my credit health, I haven't had any late payments since about March 1999. However, I have a 120 day late time period on a Lerner Charge account as of Feb 1999.

Since I'm preparing to apply for the mortgage, I've been considering tackling a few negatives on my report--one is a medical collection ($620) that has an origination date of April 2000, and that I've paid off. The other is a charge off from Express for $677 that is listed as March 2000 that I paid off in full April 2000. (I decided definitely to not try to dispute the 120 days late with Lerner.) Given the age of these two accounts and my scores -- is it worth disputing? My biggest fear is that my initiation of a dispute investigation results in either the account being reaged, DOLA updated, or more negative information about me somehow added to these listings. Am I just being paranoid? I've been reading postings where something crazy happens -- like score drops. Also, how long do original creditors maintain their records--especially charge offs? I've heard that Express is a difficult creditor to tackle. Any advise you can give me will be greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance.

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