Have you ever heard the story of the tortoise and the hare? If you have, you understand that some winnings in life derive from slow processes. Credit is just the same. You can’t just snap your fingers and pop out an 800 credit score. But, great things do come to those who wait! If you would like to improve your credit score, follow these easy steps and you will be on the road to victory – aka a lower interest rate on your next purchase, ultimately allowing you to get more bang for your buck!
1. Watch your credit card balance
Your credit score is affected by how much revolving credit you have, compared to how much you are actually using. It is a good rule of thumb to use your credit card(s) but to maintain a balance at 40 percent or less.
2. Eliminate small balances
Many of us are under the impression that using a lot of credit cards, and maintaining healthy, low balances is a good thing. Although this seems to make sense, it actually can hurt your credit score. If you have any credit cards with low balances ie: one card with $25.00 and another with $85.00, it would be better to have used the same card for those small balances. Your credit score is affected by how many cards you have active with balances. Make it a goal to pay off all of your small balances, and pick one or two credit cards to use for your purchases.
3. Don’t get rid of good old debt!
When you pay off a house or car, or any major purchase for that matter, leave it on your report. Good debt is great for your credit. It is common for people to race to the phone to have paid off items removed from their report. Don’t be one of those people! If you are applying for a job ten years after college, wouldn’t you put that you were valedictorian on your resume? Maybe not, but it sure wouldn’t hurt, and it definitely makes you look good.
When shopping for a home or car loan, time is of the essence! Your FICO score is affected by the amount of inquiries made. Every time you apply for credit, a small decrease in your score will take place for one year. Many lenders understand that people “shop around” and have their credit score ran multiple times. With that being said, lenders give grace periods where they will not take into consideration the affect those inquires had on your score when you are borrowing money. If a lender is using older software, you typically have around a 14 day shopping span to have your credit run through multiple lenders and to make a decision that won’t affect your borrowing power. Other lenders with more sophisticated and updated programs have a better scoring formula that will give you a grace period of 45 days. Traditionally you will have around a 30 day shopping period to find and lock in a loan of your choice. Need a good lender? I know some great ones so just ask!
5. It’s the little things that
Things such as a late fee at a library, a twenty dollar bill at the doctor’s office, or even unpaid court costs (not that I think you have any) can definitely affect your credit score. Although these are not reported to the credit bureaus, they have every right to call in a collections agency for anything that is unpaid. That agency may put that unpaid bill on your credit report. Although small unpaid bills are easy not to pay, it’s a good thing to prepare for the worst and get rid of them before it is too late.
6. You are being stalked. Seriously.
Taking out cash advances, using your card at a pawn shop, or even making payments to an attorney’s office (who says you aren’t getting divorced??) are all red flags to your card issuer. Although they can not negatively affect your credit score, they could potentially slow down the process of your score increasing. Your credit issuer does not like to think there is any potential for financial stress, so do your best to not give them any reason to think there might be.
The less of a “risk” you are to them, the better you stand with the chances of your score increasing. It is also in your favor to use around the same amount each month on your credit card. If you begin to use drastically less or drastically more, your credit issuer may become suspicious.
Find out your credit score
You are entitled to receive a free credit report once a year from the three credit bureaus: Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion. If you would like to monitor your credit score, I suggest pulling your report once every four months for free – taking turns pulling it from each bureau. You can pull these free reports at www.AnnualCreditReport.com
FALL in love (I know, corny joke) with this season’s newest listing in the heart of Cleveland Circle. This large one bedroom condo is conveniently located just one block off of Commonwealth Ave and 2 blocks from Beacon St, Cleveland Circle, B, C and D trains and Boston College. This meticulously cared for, owner occupied condo shows pride of ownership with beautiful hardwood floors, an updated bathroom and a large bedroom. No worries ladies… there are his and hers closets as well! There’s also a private porch off of the kitchen, 10 foot ceilings, recessed lighting, ceiling fans and common laundry. For all of you people who like to plan ahead, this is the place for you. The building has a two year old roof and brand new heating system. (SLAM DUNK!)
Join me this Sunday from NOON-1PM at 249 Chestnut Hill Avenue. Hang on now Patriots lovers, I would never forget my fellow football fans! I’ll be there Saturday as well, and at the same time. Still can’t make it? Schedule a private showing.
249 Chestnut Hill Avenue Unit 4 – $219,900
After reading many articles and doing my homework regarding the government shutdown’s affect on the housing market, there is no denying that The National Association of Realtors has hit the subject on the head with the the most informative updates. After reading today’s update, I felt inclined to share it with everyone. Read the NAR article below and learn how this historic shutdown will or will not affect Realtors, sellers, and buyers in today’s real estate market. Stay tuned for more updates from NAR here.
Congress has failed to approve a Continuing Resolution (CR) providing funding for most government operations. Therefore, spending authority for most of the government expired at midnight on Sept. 30, 2013. Until legislation providing for funding is signed into law, many offices and programs of the federal government are now shut down. This means many, but not all, government programs, including some that impact federal housing and mortgage programs, have been suspended or slowed due to the lapse in government funding. The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) requires each agency to have contingency plans in place. The information below is based on NAR staff review of agency agency contingency plans for the current shutdown and past experience with previous shutdowns and near-shutdowns. Download PDF summary.
Latest Status Information
(as of Oct. 3, 2013 2PM ET)
Internal Revenue Service (IRS)
The IRS is closed and has suspended the processing of all forms, including requests for tax return transcripts (Form 4506T). While FHA and VA do not require these transcripts, they are required by many lenders for many kinds of loans, including FHA and VA, so delays can be expected if the shutdown is protracted. We have received indications that many loan originators are adopting revised policies during the shutdown, such as allowing for processing and closings with income verification to follow, as long as the borrower has signed a Form 4506T requesting IRS tax transcripts. On loans requiring a Form 4506T Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have also adopted relaxed provisions allowing closings but subject to tax transcript verification before the GSE’s purchase the loans.
Social Security Administration (SSA)
The Social Security Administration is closed and has suspended most customer service functions. According to the SSA Contingency Plan, verifying Social Security numbers through the Consent Based SSN Verification Service will also be suspended during the shutdown, a further complication for mortgage processing. As with IRS income verification, policies vary among lenders, with many choosing to exercise forbearance during the shutdown period subject to subsequent verification. Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have also adopted policies to allow for closing subject to subsequent verification and before GSE purchase of the loan.
Department of the Interior – Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA)
BIA has announced that there will be no processing or recording of property transactions on Leased Indian Tribal Land during the government shutdown.
Additional Status Information
(as of Oct. 1, 2013 7AM ET)
Federal Housing Administration
HUD’s Contingency Plan states that FHA will endorse new loans in the Single Family Mortgage Loan Program, but it will not make new commitments in the Multi-family Program during the shutdown. FHA will maintain operational activities including paying claims and collecting premiums. Management & Marketing (M&M) Contractors managing the REO portfolio can continue to operate. You can expect some delays with FHA processing.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) confirmed that the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) will not be impacted by a government shutdown, since NFIP is funded by premiums and not tax dollars. Changes to the flood insurance program scheduled to take effect on Oct. 1 will be implemented as scheduled.
Rural Housing Programs
For the U.S. Department of Agriculture programs, essential personnel working during a shutdown do not include field office staff who typically issue conditional commitments, loan note guarantees, and modification approvals. Thus, lenders will not receive approvals during the shutdown. If the lender has already received a conditional commitment from the Rural Development office, then the lender may proceed to close those loans during the shutdown. A conditional commitment, which is good for 90 days, is given to a lender once a USDA Underwriter approves the loan. If a commitment was already issued, the funds were already set aside and the lender may close the loan at its leisure. If Rural Development has not issued a conditional commitment, the lender must wait until funding legislation is enacted before closing a loan.
It is important to note that the traditional definition of “rural” for qualifying communities for assistance will be continued in effect during the shutdown. We expect that language to continue the current definition will be included in whatever funding measure is eventually enacted.
Government Sponsored Enterprises
Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac will continue operating normally, as will their regulator, the Federal Housing Finance Agency, since they are not reliant on appropriated funds.
The Making Home Affordable program, including HAMP and HAFA, will not be affected as the program is funded through the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act which is mandatory spending not discretionary.
Sept. 30, 2013 – Update:
In anticipation of a possible shutdown, NAR is consulting with officials from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, Ginnie Mae, FHA, VA, and the Rural Housing Service, among other agencies, and will post information on how a shutdown is expected to affect these agencies’ operations.
FHA Single Family Housing
HUD officials have updated NAR concerning the status of FHA with a Federal Government shutdown looming at midnight eastern time.
- The Office of Single Family Housing will endorse new loans under current multi-year appropriation authority in order to support the health and stability of the U.S. mortgage market. (FHA endorsements currently represent 15% of the market.) Approximately 80% of FHA loans are endorsed by lenders with delegated authority. The remaining 20% are endorsed through the FHA Homeownership Centers, leveraging FHA staff with a contractor that works on-site.
- The Office of Single Family Housing will maintain the minimum operations necessary to support FHA’s existing portfolio.
- The FHA Call Center and the National Servicing Center’s Call Center will remain open.
- Any function of FHA that is funded through a multi-year appropriation or where the failure to perform those functions would result in an imminent threat to the safety of human life or the protection of property will continue. FHA’s portfolio of insured mortgages – multifamily, healthcare, and single family, as well as commitments entered into for project-based rental assistance are within those functions.
- The Office of Housing will continue to work on planned sales of defaulted notes, as required for the orderly termination of HUD’s fiduciary insurance and servicing obligations
The latest information will continue to be posted to realtor.org/governmentshutdown.
This is no YMCA chant but you could get away with throwing up a big O-M-G! This apartment is hands down, without question, the. deal. of. the. week. Located at 44 Orkney Road on the Brighton/Brookline borderline, you will be spoiled with the best of both worlds. Take a run around the Cleveland Circle Reservoir (my running route as well), take a quick walk to the B, C or D train lines, or relax and spend the day at any of the many restaurants in the area. So what makes this apartment the deal of the week, you may ask? Let me explain…
Similar units prior to September first were renting for $200 more!
This unit is a condo, not an apartment. When a building has individual owners of units, they are statistically proven to be maintained better, and to have a better quality of living. Your landlord will also be the owner, and will want to help you immediately if anything goes wrong or breaks. (and we know how hard it is to find a good landlord!)
DELEADED! I REPEAT, DELEADED!
If you have been following the rental market, you realize that prices in Brookline were soaring this year. This apartment is on the Brookline and Brighton line, BUT you don’t have to pay the price. You have the B, C, and D train lines all within a five minute walk. You are very close to Brookline’s Washington Square and Coolidge Corner. You also are technically in Brighton so you can park your car on street over night, where in Brookline you can not. I am a total location snob, and this street is one of the best to live on!
It is an epic nightmare sometimes trying to find a pet friendly place in Boston. The owner will allow your cats and is willing to consider dogs – case by case basis. There will be a pet deposit, but hey, we can’t let our best friends sleep outside!
Hardwood floors throughout, sun-drenched, fresh paint, a refinished porch, dishwasher, on-site laundry, and open layout.
What more do I need to say? Who doesn’t like saving hundreds of dollars a month on heat and hot water?
Yep that’s right! Just when you thought the impossible was impossible, it no longer is. Tomorrow from 11AM-Noon join me at 21 Colborne Road in Brighton for a chance to meet your next roommate. 4 rooms are available so make sure to land yours quick. This meet and greet will be a great way to find your future roommate for the upcoming year, as well as land a sick deal without paying $1200+ for a dated basement studio! This 3 family unit just went through some BIG updates including updated bathroom and kitchen, washer and dryer hook-ups in the unit, new lights, paint, etc! Great floor plan, big bedrooms and a really great rear porch! Located one block to the B line and on the shuttle to BC!!
Click below to check out the neighborhood!