Credit score

Credit scores are like your gums. You know you need to take care of them now, or it'll be a pain in some distant future. 

I'm trying to buy a home now and realized how consequential they can be. 

Mortgage lenders, I was told, look at the middle of the scores from the 3 main credit bureaus/mafia (Experian, Equifax, and Transunion). If you're applying with a partner, they will pick the lowest one between you. 

You need a middle of at least 680 to qualify for a jumbo loan (over ~$650k in WA state). 

A middle of 680-700 can have an interest rate of ~5.6% vs. the ~4.8% that you get if it's >750. On a $1M loan, that's a significant ~$800 a month! 

A single collections account (usually >$100) can impact your credit report by 100 points and stay on your credit report for up to 7 years. So missing a one-time $150 payment can end up costing you $800/month for many years or even disqualify you from getting a loan and home (If you can, you can pay the creditor - either the original service provider or the collections agency - and request them to take the collections off your report, which takes 2 weeks - 2 months). 

So floss and take care of your credit score.