So you think buying a home is easy these days? For some, it may be, for most people however there are “glitches.” No one like “glitches,” but these days we stumble into more than ever before. Believe me when I say, no one is perfect. Even the most savvy real estate investor has obstacles that prevent the smooth transactions we grew accustomed to in years past.
Preparing to buy a home involves more than making up your mind that you want to move. There are certain steps of preparation that you must follow. The first and biggest obstacle that I run into with my customers is CREDIT ISSUES. Either Bad Credit, No credit, or someone else’s credit..on your credit report! Yes, it happens.
There will be some followup to this BLOG, but for now let’s get the credit issues our of the way. Let’s knock out a few credit score questions and answers.
What is a credit Score?
Good grades come from having done positive things, bad grades subtract points from your grade. Most scores range between 300 – 900 points, the higher is the better grade. A credit score is used to qualify you for loans. If you fall below 630 these days, it will will be a challenge to get your qualified. Lenders will delve into your credit scores, using the scores from three major reporting agencies, and sometimes one national agency. If you are monitoring your credit.. check all 3! The nuts and bolts is this:
What affects your Credit Positively?
- Paying your bills on time and in full.
- Having one or two credit cards used on occasion and paid each month.
- The typical rule of thumb is to use 25 percent or less of your available credit. Ideally, carry a balance of no more than $2,500 if your credit limit is $10,000.
- Steady employment. People who are steadily employed are viewed as being better able to pay their bills on time.
- If you are self-employed, pay yourself a documented salary!
What damages your Credit Score:
- Missing of Making Late Payments.
- Using more than 80 percent of your total amount of available credit
- Liens or foreclosures
- Periods of unemployment
- Repeated, multiple requests for new lines of credit ( i.e. store credit card applications will KILL your credit! Don’t do it to save 10%!)
The Major Factors that affect your credit score:
- Your payment history. Are you paying on time? This is one of the biggest factors that lenders look at.
- Your outstanding debt. Your debt to income levels are critical, your ability to pay back small sums is manageable, large balances are very difficult to manage.
- How long have you been building credit. The longer your credit history, the higher your credit rating.
- The number of inquiries on your credit report. The more times you’ve applied for credit cards or loans, the more credit report inquiries will show up on your credit report. When in trouble, in the fine print, your creditors can pull your credit when you are late, when you apply for loan extensions or modifications. This can kill your score because it indicates you are having trouble managing your debts.
What to do when you see a “cheater” on your credit report.
Sometimes there are debts on your credit report that do not belong to you. This happened recently to my 19 year old borrower as he discovered that his father had been using his social security number and had taken out credit cards in his name. They were good pays,.. but they were NOT his, in fact most were taken out when the 19 year old was 9 and 10 years old! Can someone say, “Credit card FRAUD?” Do us all a favor, report credit card fraud, let the credit companies investigate and prosecute those who committed the crime. If you are one of those stealing from your kids.. thinking you won’t ever get caught… Think Again!
Credit card fraud is on the rise. Access to social security numbers, telephone numbers, dates of birth are too easy to find, not to mention accessibility to your mailbox which is full of the “sign here” offers that can be stolen in a flash. Use a identity theft service. It’s the cheapest, best insurance you can own, and these days you need it!
CreditReport.com reports that the average credit score of Americans is “in the neighborhood of 680,..” and that, “while consumers have more debt than the year prior, and a quarter of the country has more debt than the national average – apparently we manage debt fairly well, as our average credit score is hanging in there.”
So, while you may look at your credit card debt and shriek,.. look at your score, do a little housecleaning once a year and relax.
Part II….Exercise Your Right To Choose the Right Lender!