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All posts in Credit Reports

Today we sat down and talked with Anastasia Tacewicz from GMH Mortgage Services on a couple different topics. One such topic had to do with different strategies one can implement to improve their current credit score or simply establish credit without much of a history. If you have done any sort of credit research, you know that there is a ton of different information out there regarding this topic. It almost seems like everyone has a different perspective on how to best handle your credit so it’s great to hear one from a mortgage professional.

Need more info about mortgages or about getting pre approved? Contact us at 617-297-8641

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Via our FREE Financial Literacy seminars and our partners, we educate members of the community on strategies to improving their credit score in preparation for the biggest purchase one can make…. buying a home!

One question we get asked a lot is whether they should pay off their collections. You have the option to pay off your collection or settle the debt for a lesser amount with the lender but there is one step before handing over your debit card. In order to truly impact your credit score, the creditor needs to REMOVE or DELETE the collection from your credit report. If you pay in full or settle, the negative activity still remains on your credit report. You need to request IN WRITING that your creditor delete the collection from your report. Do not issue a pay in full or settlement amount until you receive a response IN WRITING that they have agreed to or rejected your request. 

After 7 years, the collection item is no longer visible but if you are planning to purchase a home or a car within 6 years… it may be worth it to have those negative items removed from your record. 

I strongly recommend people monitor their credit report monthly. CreditKarma is FREE and sends you alerts when there are changes to your report. Although it does not utilize the FICO score which is utilized by the credit bureaus, it helps you MONITOR your financial report card so to speak. You want to know if you are on track or what items to address because they are setting you back.


For more strategies to help you get on track to purchase a home in 1-2 years, please contact us for a free no obligation consultation.

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Credit affects all major financial decisions that involve someone lending you money/credit. It should be no surprise that your credit score will also affect your mortgage rate. Your credit scores affect the kinds of mortgages you can be approved for, how much you can borrow, the mortgage rates you’ll pay and even how much you’ll pay for private mortgage insurance (PMI). It’s not impossible to buy a home with damaged credit; it’s just much more expensive.
Credit scores are instrumental in applying and being approved for a mortgage. When it comes to FHA financing at least, you will be required to have a credit score of at least 580 in order to be eligible for a loan. The higher your credit score is beyond that, the better the terms will be. With a 580 credit score you also qualify for the low 3.5% down. If your credit score is below 580, you can still qualify for an FHA loan but you will need a 10% down payment. The drawback to a 580 is that your interest rate will not be at the national average, it will most likely be slightly higher. Consult your mortgage lender for more information. (We work with several lenders who work hard to get you the best rate, to be connected to one of them, please click here)
This is why it’s so important to understand your credit score in the months before you apply for a mortgage. If you do have impaired credit history, you’ll want to work to improve your credit scores before you even apply. And if you already have good credit, you’ll want to keep it as high as possible by avoiding taking on other new debt.
We host seminars throughout the year regarding improving credit and have affiliations with credit repair companies.
For more information, feel free to contact us.

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Are you looking to buy a home in the near future? Has less then perfect credit stopped you from buying a home in the past? Home ownership is a huge part of the American dream and no one should be denied access. Here are 6 steps to improving your credit so you too, can achieve the American dream.

1. Pay down your credit cards to below 40%.

Ideally 30% but let’s start small and work our way up. It can be overwhelming if you have 5 credit cards that are all near their limit. Here are a couple strategies you could employ.  A. Pay off/down the highest interest card first. The money you save on interest payments will go toward paying off your next card on the list. B. Pay off/down the credit card with the smallest limit. Paying off something quickly gives you motivation to move on to the next. You feel motivated after paying down a $500 credit card in 2 months compared to paying $500 off a $5,000 credit card because you still see a high balance.

2. Slow down on opening new accounts

Each new account places an inquiry on your credit report, which decreases your credit score. When creditors see these inquiries, it decreases your chances of being approved. Also, new credit means less credit history, which is frowned upon. Side note: Choose cards with rewards so you earn while you spend.

3. Add someone’s credit history to your profile

If you have a family member that has good credit and good credit history, consider asking them to add you to their oldest credit card and preferably the one with the best credit history attached to it. While you will not adopt their credit score, you will obtain their history, so if they have owned the card for 10 years, you now have that 10-year history on your credit report. We DO NOT recommend you having access to their credit however. No matter how good your intentions, you never want to jeopardize someone’s credit for your own gain. They can give you their history without giving you access to their credit.

4. Get a secured line of credit

If you were unable to add someone’s credit history to your profile, your next best option is to open a secured line of credit. Essentially, you would put money on a card (like a debit card) and whatever amount you deposit, becomes your new credit limit. For example, you deposit $500 on your secured credit card, you now have a $500 credit limit on your card. If you decide to increase it to $1000, you pay the $1000 upfront and you can borrow against it up to $1000. The benefit is that if you decide to close the account, your money is refunded. Also, secured credit cards report to the credit bureaus unlike a debit card or some other services out there. Do your research and ask questions. See which card is best suited for your needs. The most important thing is to make sure they report to all 3 credit bureaus to help you establish credit.

5. Diversify your credit profile

You do not want all your credit to be of the same type. The goal is to have a diverse portfolio such as credit cards, car loan, mortgage, etc. Creditors want to see that you are responsible over a variety of credit types.

6. Get your credit limit increased with current lenders

I do this every year. If you have a great track record of always paying on time, you can ask your credit card company to increase your limit. Most allow you to do this on the website and it is instant. This serves 2 purposes: A. It increases your credit iimit and the % of credit owed. For example $400 on a $500 limit is 80% utilization, however, $400 on a $1000 limit is only 40% utilization. Do you see how this can improve your credit score without you doing anything more than making a phone call? This is not something you do monthly but rather on a yearly basis because some companies will pull your credit to make the decision which could hurt you in the short term but will be beneficial in the long. B. It gives you greater access to funds. Wouldn’t it be nice to know that you have an extra $1000 of available credit in case of emergencies?

Would you like to learn more about how to improve your credit? Sign up for FREE course – “How To Achieve An 800+ Credit Score & Never Be Denied For Anything“. You can find details on this course with the following link. http://www.meetup.com/Urban-Money-Matters/

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When it comes to buying a home, having bad credit is not the end of the world. Whether you have suffered from a bankruptcy, foreclosure or some type of financial hardship that resulted in late or missed payments, there are lenders who specialize in financing for those with less-than-perfect credit. You will likely have to produce a larger down payment and/or pay higher interest rates than someone who has good credit, but the important thing to know is that buying a home is an option for you.

Even if you have bad credit, it’s important to check your credit report from each of the three major credit reporting agencies – TransUnion, Equifax and Experian – before applying for a loan.  If anything is inaccurate, file a dispute with the reporting agency and request a correction.  You can request a free copy of your credit report every 12 months.

In addition to correcting any inaccuracies on your credit report, it’s important that you know what can help or hurt your chances of obtaining a loan.  You can start improving your credit by avoiding the temptation to apply for new credit right before submitting a mortgage application. Multiple inquiries will cause your FICO score to drop, and lenders will rely on this information when deciding whether or not to issue your loan and how to calculate your interest rates. 

If you have any questions or want more information about how to obtain or improve your credit score, please give me a call at 617-297-8641, and I would be happy to work with you. 

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