It happens to the best of us: a few years of reckless spending, or a few missed credit card payments, and our credit score is a little less than appealing. If you're looking to purchase a home in the next few years, this can be discouraging. But don't worry - you can boost your credit in less time than you may think.

"Banks like to see a credit score of 640 or more, with scores of 740 and above in the best range," says Daniel Yelovich, a licensed mortgage loan officer.

To boost your score, Yelovich advises sticking to the following plan:

- Pay any overdue bills and stay up to date with future payments.
- Pay all bills within 30 days of their due date to avoid an overdue flag appearing.
- Set up payment plans where necessary as on-time, consistent payments are pivotal.
- Keep credit card balances under 50 percent of their maximum as going above this will hinder credit scores.
- Avoid opening unnecessary new credit accounts as frequent credit inquiries negatively affect credit scores.
- Call any creditor if there's likely to be a problem paying your bill on time.

Yelovich stresses that once mistakes on an individual's report are corrected, their score could be improved in as little as two weeks. "However, even where credit has been badly neglected," he adds, "most individuals can achieve a mortgage-worthy score of 640 within 12 months by following the above guidelines."