Like the commercials on TV always claim, your credit is indeed everything. Too many Americans take their credit for granted and simply ignore it, especially when they owe money to creditors and medical. They usually just hope that like everything else if you ignore it will eventually go away. But this is one crucial element of life that will haunt you if you do ignore it.
I recently took a couple out who were desperate for rental housing. I took chance knowing they had poor credit, but it was not until I ran it that I realized it was an abysmal 400+. After several offers nobody would take a chance on them even if they were willing to give full price and extra deposit.
The moral here is that credit doesn't apply to just buying a home, but to renting as well. Keep an eye on your credit each year. Afterall, it's free anyway. Go to https://www.annualcreditreport.com/cra/index.jsp and you can print up to three reports per year free. I am only an advocate of the sight because it works and is as advertised, unlike the others who offer free credit reports if you subscribe to their site. If you are unsure of a charge, simply dispute it. Until resolved, it will not count against you. If you find charges lingering that are not too bad, pay them off already, especially medical. Doctors and hospitals are the worse and they don't fool around when it comes to collecting. Always pay them first. Then work on credit cards, etc. Never let a credit card go to chargeoff status. It's the kiss of death.
You will find that if you keep in touch with these creditors and let them know that you are not going to stiff them they will work something out with you and all will be well in the long run. And always be honest with your agent. If you have poor credit, explain why. Chances are they can work with you with other documents such as reference letters from employers and landlords, paycheck stubs, and tax returns. Whatever you do just don't ignore it!