Thinking of buying a home in Atlanta or Decatur GA? It is so important to know your credit score and monitor your credit report on a regular basis.
Please read the following article, written by one of our Active Rain mortgage experts...
If I can assist you with any of your Atlanta real estate needs, please call anytime at (404) 432-1844.
KERRY LUCASSE : KELLER WILLIAMS REALTY : 404.432.1844 : KerryLucasse@KW.com
To say your credit history & score is HUGE these days may be a borderline understatement. For purposes of my experience, I'll concentrate on how credit relates to getting a mortgage to buy a home or trying to refinance the one you currently own.
Talking about credit is about as much fun as chewing broken glass while watching Yanni's latest video on VH1, at least to most. Even for the most severe masochists or staunchest Yanni advocators, it's probably not a subject full of brim excitement.
So, I'll try to make this concise and simple. Educating yourself and working with professionals who can guide you along the way, to make sure your credit is worthy of a three course meal at the White House, is crucial. I'm not just talking about those whose credit is in the crapper. I'm also writing to folks whose credit may be moderate or maybe you've never made a late payment in your life but your score is low. The Credit Reporting Industry is wagging the dog, forget about whining... work and know the system.
Here are a few tips & quips:
* Get a copy of your Credit Report. It may not provide your actual credit score, but at least you can verify the accuracy of the information on your report. I've included information below that you can utilize to do this. Quick thing here, credit modules differ within industries. For example, the credit report a mortgage company pulls may differ from that of the institution giving you a car loan or credit card. Mortgage folks weigh heavy on student loans and car loans and even heavier on your Mortgage History, provided you have one.
* Communication is key with your credit. If you are experiencing rough financial times, call them before they WILL call you. Let your creditors know what is going on. It probably won't stop them from reporting you late to the credit agencies, but it probably will provide you one less of a headache. That's what life's all about... avoiding headaches:-)
* The only thing that may be just as bad or even worse than credit overload, is no credit at all. Establish yourself in the creditor's eyes. If you have no credit, get secured credit that reports to all three credit reporting agencies. This may mean making a deposit at your bank and taking out a loan against it or pre-paying on a credit card. If you are doing the latter, use that credit card and pay it off it off regularly.
...if you have a bankruptcy or foreclosure in your past, establishing 12-24 months worth of a good credit is absolutely crucial!
* Oh, those credit cards. I'll put it bluntly, the bigger the differential between what your current balance is and what your available balance is, the better for your Credit Score. Don't be afraid to call your credit card company and ask them to raise your available balance. Don't use it, just have it there to improve your credit standing and score.
...sidenote on credit cards. Don't be afraid to call your current credit holders and ask them to lower your interest rate. If the first person you talk to can't or won't, ask to speak with a manager. If unsuccessful in that endeavor, call back at a later date. Be persistent & professional in your efforts. Lowering your rate even the slightest bit can save you some serious money now and down the road.
* Pay your bills on time. Yeah, I know, this is a no-brainer to most. Yet, it doesn't report late to the credit bureaus until you fall 30 days late. Try to make sure you don't get 30 days late on anything. Sure, you may incur late fees if you are even a day behind on some credit, though Mortgage Companies typically give you a 15-day grace period before you incur any late fees. From my experience, make sure your mortgage/rent is paid on time first, then student & car loans, then credit cards. If you are a renter...
...pay your rent by check and keep copies of your canceled checks. Twelve months worth will do (pay month by month, pre-paid bulk payments won't do you any favors...create a consistent history). This establishes a housing history. While it doesn't do anything positive for your credit, it does wonders when you apply to buy a home.
* Settle delinquent accounts for pennies on the dollar. If you owe the International Bank of Jason Sardi a cool $5,000.00 and your account is charged off, you should call to arrange a settlement once it goes to collections. Often times, you can come to an agreement for a lump sum of $2,500.00 or less and you may even be able to work out a payment plan. Either case, make sure you pay that account satisfactory and get the paperwork of the agreement and the final pay-off to prove it. Paying off delinquent accounts will probably drop your score at first, but will do wonders for your score down the road (provided you keep paying everything else on time).
* Avoid 'Hard' Inquiries. Your current creditors may check your credit, but that is considered a 'Soft' inquiry and shouldn't affect your credit score. Yet, if you are applying for credit out the behind, those inquiries can adversely affect your score. It raises the red flag that you may be on your way to becoming credit dependent. Psychologically speaking, never give them that drift, make them know that their livelihood depends on you... not the other way around.
* Credit Restoration Companies may be able to help but avoid anything that says, "Consumer Credit Counseling." CCS is considered a form of bankruptcy in many lenders eyes and their ability to pay your debts at a 'consolidated interest rate & lower payment' is suspect and often times worsens the situation. On the other hand, I've only witnessed one Credit Restoration Company worth its weight in the seven years I've been traveling this gig. There may be and probably are more, but I've only witnessed one. If you want more info, contact me. Always remember though, you can do everything to make sure your credit is at it's best, yourself... it's a matter of being educated and persistence in your efforts. That takes time. Though time is a commodity not all of us have.
Below is info on the reporting agencies that you should contact to get started. Even if you have an above average credit score, you'll pay more than you should if your credit score is even 20 points lower than the next guy or gal. Save yourself money, put in the time and seek out the Mortgage Professionals to ensure that time is well spent. Your credit is crucial... our knowledge of the industry and mechanics involved... can save you money and fulfill your dreams of home-ownership. If you already are a homeowner, we can help you get on the path to make finances one less worry in this life.
P.O. Box 740241
Atlanta, GA 30374
P.O. Box 2000
Chester, PA 19022-2000
P.O. Box 2104
Allen, TX 75013
Bear in mind, at this point, you're entitled to one free credit report a year. Or, and I'd personally recommend this, you can get the whole batch which is simply called the 'Annual Credit Report Request Form.' That's free as well! The following sites will lead you in the right direction:
The bottom line in all this, the status of your credit can either cost or save you money. Which option sounds better to you?
Lori brings up a good point with the following comment:
What a great blog. You gave a lot of valuable information. I envy your writing skills. I have just one comment, be careful on advise towards settlement's. While it may make the consumer feel like they have done the ethical and moral thing, it mayl not help their credit rating. In reality, you can actually hurt it in the long run. That item can now be reported up to another 7 years. Understand that this reporting is fromthe date of last activity. If you are dealing with an item that has been reporting for a while and is about to fall off, by paying the debt it will be re-activated and stay on for up to another 7 years. The bottom line is a negative entry is a negative entry. Advise on repairing credit should be looked at on a case to case basis. Each credit profile is as individual as a fingerprint. While most of your information is spot on, there are certain things that can't be generalized. I wish I had your writing skills to be able to give out all the information in my head. I am working on that end of my social networking. Again, great post and feel free to call e-mail me with any questions relating credit repair, credit profiles or any credit related issue including identity theft.
Happy Thanksgiving-Lori Isaacson
11/25/2008 01:46 PM by Lori Isaacson (Credit Restoration Consultants) Delete Report as Spam
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In & Around Atlanta Real Estate Blog - Copyright 2006 - 2014 by Kerry Lucasse and the Nest Atlanta team with eXp Realty Atlanta. All information contained in this blog is deemed to be reliable but not guaranteed. If you need assistance with Intown Atlanta real estate, Kerry Lucasse and the Nest Atlanta Real Estate Group are always available to assist you with your residential real estate needs!
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