credit scores

Understanding Your Credit Profile

Good, Better, Best and Bad

The internet and cell phones have now made it easier than ever to check your credit score as often as you’d like. Millennials are starting to check their credit scores more frequently than any other generation. This could be due to the fact that credit has become vital in many aspects of life. Whether you want to buy a house, car, or take out a loan, you can expect that your credit report will be scrutinized. Do you know what you are looking at when it comes to those numbers?

A Numbers Game

Your credit score is ever changing. While you may not suspect that things are moving and shifting, they are. Often times people think of their scores as either really bad or good enough. When you are browsing the internet and you start to check your credit scores, please take note that you are looking at a consumer score.

What is a consumer score? This is the scores you have access to online that may show higher than what a lender or bank would pull for you. These are called vantage scores and are not your true FICO score. These scores show higher so that you will start shopping around for products, or continue to spend. Your score may be significantly lower when you apply for a home loan. Once you understand this, the frustration or mind game you feel that happens when your scores are so different won’t be so frustrating. You should pay closest attention to what a bank or lender tells you your score is. So, what are all these numbers really saying?

  • Very Good : 740-799
  • Good : 670-739
  • Fair : 580-669
  • Poor : 300-579

Having scores higher than 799 is possible to obtain but can be hard. A 670 and up is considered exceptional. The better the score, the better the interest rates, among other things. If you are below a 700, there is definitely some room for improvement!

Increasing Credit Scores

If you have a low FICO score, you can bet that is due to a combination of factors rather than just one culprit. A credit score is made up of many different factors. If you are thinking your credit is low due to just inquiries, you are probably incorrect. The chart below demonstrates the factors that come into play with your FICO.

Facts on Fico

Positive Payment History

The largest section of the pie chart is your payment history. If you have been behind on bills, have late payments or cannot keep up current credit cards, your score will be dramatically impacted.

One late payment can potentially drop your score 100 points.

If the creditor sends your card into collection or charge off, we can take a look at your report and discuss what the next options are for your credit report or how you can try to make up for those late pays in other ways  to increase the scores. There is a method to the madness when it comes to your credit scores, you just have to know how to play the game.

 

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Credit Scores and Savings

If you take a look at the numbers above and fall into the category of poor or fair credit, you may notice how much you are having to pay on your auto or home loan. When your credit score is low, you’ll notice how much higher your interest is on your payments. While it is great that you may be able to get approved for a car loan or auto loan with a lower score, you would be better off waiting until you can improve your credit scores. We want to help you save!

Financially speaking, if you can wait and try to get your scores back up  you can be saving yourself a significant amount of money each month for your family.

Quick Ways To Improve
  • Become an authorized user on family member or spouse’s card
  • Look into a credit builder loan
  • Apply for a secured credit card
  • Invest in credit repair to get derogatory items removed

Your credit will be around for the rest of your days. While you may have made financial mistakes in the past, you can improve and learn from them. If you have found yourself in a huge hole, and have debt collectors and collection companies calling you daily, please get in touch with a company that can help you. At Credit Law Center we educate our clients on everything they may need to know, to continue to better their credit scores as well as represent them so that the calls can stop. We know the importance of great credit and what doors it can open when you reach that “very good” zone.

Open new doors today for your family, and invest in your financial future.

 

Do you have questions about your credit report? If you would like to speak with one of our attorneys or credit advisors  and complete a free consultation please give us a call at 1-800-994-3070 we would be happy to help.

If you are hoping to dispute and work on your credit report on your own, here is a link that provides you with a few ideas on how to go about DIY Credit Repair.

A Note From The Author: The opinions you read here come from our editorial team. Our content is accurate to the best of our knowledge when we initially post it.

Article by Breana Washington

Credit Score

4 Steps For Credit Empowerment

Now that the new year is upon us, it is time to start on our resolutions for the year. My group of friends all discussed what we want to work on this year to better ourselves and the  lives we live. A couple of us are looking to hit the gym more frequently while Eric wanted to work on his hobbies. As we talked over our drinks, my good friend James said “I want an 800 credit score!” We all looked at him and asked what his game plan was to get his credit in order…his response… “I have no idea where to even start.”

James, this blog is for you to go over 4 easy steps to begin empowering your credit and hopefully, get you closer to that 800 credit score!

Step 1- Be Informed

If I asked you off the top of your head “what is your credit score” you would probably respond with a broad range of numbers; ” I am around six or seven hundred maybe?” The first step to credit empowerment is to become well acquainted with your credit score and the items associated with it.  Thankfully, there are many different sites out there that can provide all three bureau reports along with each items listed information. Credit Armor is a wonderful sight that provides all three bureau reports, debt negotiation options, in depth item information and identity theft protection to assist you while empowering your credit.

Thanks to the Fair Credit Reporting Act, you can claim  a free credit report once every 12 months from all three credit bureaus as well! (Note: You can claim free weekly reports through April 2021 in response to the COVID.) To get your free reports, visit AnnualCreditReport.com!

Step 2- Start Correcting Your Errors

Now that you have an full copy of your report from all three bureaus, it’s time to start correcting your errors! Did you know that over 70% of Americans have a reporting error listed on their credit report? These errors can be anything from incorrect addresses to manner of payment issues. Any information on your account that is listed incorrectly could be harming you in an area that you have never noticed!

Step 3- Make Your Payments

There are many factors on your credit reports which can influence your FICO Scores such as your credit mix and types of credit . But the most important information that can hurt your score is your payment history . Payment history affects over one-third of your FICO Score—35%, in total!

To build yourself up for success, be sure to make these payments on the date and track your payments made. If needed, review your financial obligations and make a payment calendar to keep track of when exactly a payment is due and the funds are withdrawn from your account!

Step 4-Tackle Your Debts

Now that you have review your items that are listed incorrectly and assessed your financial situation, it is time to deal with your existing debt. Your credit utilization rate (the amount of credit you use from your credit cards) has a significant impact on your score. A good rule of thumb is to keep your credit utilization rate as low as possible and make payments higher than the minimum to keep those low rates.

Keep in mind  that the credit card balance that is appearing on your credit report could be different than your actual account balance. Many credit card issuers only update your account information with the credit bureaus once a month.

 

There is much more that goes into building your credit that just paying your cards and disputing some infractions, but that is a subject for a different blog. This is meant to be the starting point for James and all of those out there that do not know where to begin.

Do you have questions about your credit report? If you would like to speak with one of our attorneys or credit advisors  and complete a free consultation please give us a call at 1-800-994-3070 we would be happy to help.

If you are hoping to dispute and work on your credit report on your own, here is a link that provides you with a few ideas on how to go about DIY Credit Repair.

Check out Credit Law Center Reviews:
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home buying process

What You Need To Know Before Buying a House

Building Buying Power

As the Spring months start peeking through, the home buying market is heating up! Have you been picturing the day when you can paint your own walls and mow your own grass? The dream of homeownership comes with great financial responsibility. Many first-time home buyers have questions about their down payment, and how they can start saving to make that first major purchase. We’ll discuss several organizations that are willing to help you with the financial burden and get you into your own home soon.

The process of applying for a loan can be overwhelming and stressful. Without an excess amount of funds, you may find yourself digging in couch cushions and trying to work extra hours to come up with the funds and savings to start the journey toward homeownership.

There are a few major factors that come into play when getting pre-qualified for a home loan.

  • Credit Scores
  • Income
  • Debt
  • Down payment

Paying Down Debts? │ Not Enough Left For A Down Payment?

If you have been trying to pay down debts or have been in the credit repair process, again, excess funds may be low. After your income has been reviewed by a trusted lender, more than likely you have discussed how much money you will need for a down payment. Did the amount of money sound manageable?

There are a few loan programs that require no down payment like USDA, which you have to meet strict income guidelines for. Another is the VA loan which is only available to eligible Veterans. Let’s say you won’t qualify for either of these, what happens next?

All hope is not lost! There may be help right around the corner, you just have to know where to look. Below is a list of some other options out there to possibly help jump-start the home buying process for you.  

free credit repair consultation

Down Payment Assistance Programs

For down payment assistance, there may be a household income limit or a limit on the purchase price. Look in your area where you are hoping to purchase. There are some cities will also contribute and help with down payment assistance. You can search on your City website where they may talk about things like how to get grant money or down payment assistance for first time home buyers!

Talk to your lender further about what programs they may know of in the area in order to help you with funds. If you are a first time home buyer, there may be a program for you! Hoping to buy a home in a historic district? There are grants for homes in certain areas of towns where they would like to see the homes restored and rehabbed too.

 

Habitat For Humanity

Habitat for Humanity occasionally partners with homes with income restrictions that are in need of an overhaul and some DIY. For this program, reach out to your local organization to learn about the qualifications and application process or visit their website https://www.habitat.org/

 

Community Land Trusts

Community Land Trusts are also nonprofits that are willing to make the buying process more affordable by selling just the building. There would be a lease on the land that you occupied. In an effort to strengthen and serve low-income families, these Community Land Trusts serve the community and work to create homes that are permanently affordable and last for generations.

 

Ready For Home Ownership?

Throughout the home buying process, there will be so many new things to learn as you become a homeowner.

A few things to start doing in order to take the next step in the process are:

Shop Around For The Best Mortgage

If you are ready to take on home ownership, start looking around at lenders in your area. Consider the pros and cons of a bank, credit union, online lender or mortgage broker.

Be extremely careful as you shop around that you don’t allow each institution to start pulling credit right away!

Apply

Your credit will be pulled at this point by the lender you are using. When you have decided on the best option you will need several documents like your paystub, recent bank statements and tax return documents. There will be many different types of documents that dive deep into your finances. Remember to hold off on applying for new credit, buying a new car or making large purchases before you close!

This can really hurt your credit scores and may cause an issue for your home purchase. If your lender cannot get you pre-approved with your credit scores they may refer you to a credit repair company so that you can work on your scores. Some credit repair companies work with you as quick as they can to get your scores up so you can get back to the lender as soon as possible!

Pre Approval

Once you complete the application, your lender will decide based on the documents you provided. At this point, the lender will let you know how much they are willing to loan. This document is typically good for 60-90 days.

Start Shopping!

Now is the time to grab your agent and start checking out all the open houses and find your dream home!

Make An Offer

Once you find the house you are looking for, your agent will write a contract up and have you sign the purchase agreement.

As you move forward with your home purchase there will be loads of paperwork and numbers thrown at you. Your lender will be your guide throughout the process and will keep you updated on documents they need in order to get your file closed on time. Talk with friends, your agent, and family about lenders they have used. The home buying process is one that can be stressful, but with the right guide, it can be exciting too!

credit repair consultation

 

Financial Focus for 2021

How to Focus Financially in the New Year

By Jessica Larson, SolopreneurJournal.com

New year, clean slate. Well, maybe it doesn’t seem like it, with the pandemic still very much in play and lots of the same challenges hitching a ride with us into 2021. 

 

You may not be able to wipe away all your debt as you turn the page on your calendar, or step into a new job opportunity right away on January 1. But you can still clear your thoughts, refocus your goals, adopt a new attitude, and start fresh with new ideas to improve your financial situation as the new year gets underway. Here are some ideas on how to do that.

Determine what’s different

What changed in your situation during 2020, and have you adapted to meet those changes? Here are just some of the factors that affected most people during the year that’s just concluded:

  • Transitions from office work to remote work
  • Loss of income from rental properties, or eviction notices
  • Job losses in the service sector, such as restaurant and hospitality workers, retail associates, and travel industry staffers
  • Strains on hospital staff and other health-care workers
  • Fewer in-person entertainment options (movies, concerts, sporting events)
  • Depletion of savings accounts while trying to stay afloat in difficult circumstances.

Take an inventory of what you’ve gone through, how you’ve met the challenges, and how (with 2020 hindsight) you might change your approach in the coming year.

Review your credit report

The information on your credit report can make life harder or easier. A high score can unlock low interest rates on mortgages and credit cards, saving you lots of money. However unresolved debts, identity theft, or even errors can block you from renting an apartment, getting a mortgage, buying a car, landing a job, or getting a security clearance.

It’s normal for credit scores to go up and down as life circumstances change. Carrying higher balances on your credit cards, making a late payment, new “hard inquiries”… all of those things can lower your score temporarily. However, if you have a debt in collections or an error on your report, ignoring it will only make the problem worse. Start the new year by resolving to dispute it yourself or get professional help to fight back or negotiate a solution you can live with. 

Identify opportunities for growth

The economic climate in 2020 created many hardships, but it also brought new opportunities. Look into what those are and identify where you may be able to help fill a newly created niche.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, five of the 20 fastest growing industries in the next decade will be in health care and social assistance. The individual and family services sector leads the way, with a projected annual growth of 3.4%.

Other growth areas include:

  • Forestry (3.7%)
  • Support activities for mining (2.8%)
  • Home health services (2.6%)
  • Outpatient care (2.6%)
  • Computer systems design (2.3%)
  • Grantmaking (2.2%)
  • Software publishers (1.9%)
  • Independent authors, writers, and performers (1.9%)

Does your work fit into any of these categories, or can you expand your skill set to fill one of these needs? If you’re traditionally employed, ask your boss for training in a growth area. If you’re self-employed, a contractor, or between jobs, seek out extended education courses and online learning opportunities. Improve your networking and even consider finding a mentor.

Cover your blind side

Just because 2020 is moving (mercifully) into the rearview mirror, more challenges — and unexpected perils — still may lie ahead. You never know what’s around the next corner in life, and it pays to be prepared.

If you faced a loss of income or had to dig into your savings, you’ll have to be extra careful to guard against further financial hits in the year ahead. Make sure your home, auto, and health insurance are good to go. Revisit your policies to find out if you can save money by changing insurers, eliminating overlap, or bundling policies together. 

While you’re at it, protect what’s inside your home, too. If you’re renting, renters insurance can cover the theft of property from your unit, whether it’s a valuable heirloom or childhood comic book collection. If you own your home, consider a home warranty, which can cover the cost of repairs to major systems (HVAC, plumbing, etc.) and appliances like your dishwasher or fridge.

Plan for the future

People typically make new year’s resolutions to cover a single year, but any life changes you make now can last far longer, whether you’re quitting a bad habit or forming a good one.

One habit can involve how you use credit. How does your credit score look? Did you know you can request a free credit report once a year? Learn what’s in it, what it means, and how to improve it. Here are some basic methods:

  • Pay your bills on time.
  • Make utility and cellphone bill payments promptly.
  • Keep credit card balances low.
  • Don’t apply for too much credit.

Now’s also a great time to make sure you’re preparing for retirement with the proper savings options. If your employer offers a 401(k) with matching contributions, that’s worth exploring. You might want to consider IRAs, annuities, and other options, as well. What investments can you make to solidify your long-term financial stability?

Many of the plans you make involve paperwork, so do your research and consult a professional financial planner and/or lawyer. For your family’s sake, make sure your life insurance, health-care directives, will, and estate are in order, with documents signed and filed with the appropriate agencies. 

You may be bringing a good deal of 2020’s finances with you into 2021, but you’ll still be able to make a difference by exploring new approaches to fiscal health and planning ahead — for the year to come and for the longer term.

By assessing your position, looking for ways to improve it, and guarding yourself against future crises, you can make the year ahead (and the years after that) more fruitful and less stressful.

Credit Report- What is a Credit Report - Credit Law Center (1)

CLC and Me: The Credit Repair Process

How Long Is This Going To Take?

Credit repair seems like a long and tedious process, but have you ever wondered why it takes to long to complete? Many people often look to repair their credit with a specific goal in mind (like taking out a car lone or purchasing a house) it’s important to know just how long it takes for the process to be completed.

With this in mind, CLC has put together the information below in the hopes of assisting the average borrower understand the credit repair process. If you would like to get started on repairing your credit, just fill out our quick consultation form here.

How Can I Build My Credit?

Get Answers

Getting ready for  your first disputes!

To  start your credit repair journey, first we need to review your credit reports to identify any potential discrepancies and mistakes. There are may tools you can use to check your credit report any time you want. You can always call us to get a free consultation and have a credit adviser go over your report with you or check out a reporting tool like Credit Armour to view and monitor your report! Once you have a copy of your report, it is time for start looking for errors! Missing information, wrong information, entry errors and unverifiable items are just a few of the things you can dispute in the hope of removal from your report!

 

The Sendoff! 

Once we have located and verified the discrepancies on your credit report, dispute letters have to be made and documentation needs to be acquired before we contact the bureaus. The time required for this step differs for everyone, depending on the nature of the disputes and how much information is able to be gathered for the disputes. The dispute process can be done as quickly as a few hours if you have all of the proper information gathered to a few days depending on the documentation needed for your situation!

If you have decided to repair your credit on your own, you determine how fast this part of the process goes with the information your have gathered. If you decide to utilize Credit Law Centers program, the company will help you expedite to get the job done as quickly as possible.

Once you have the first disputes sent off, the clock starts ticking. The credit bureaus have 30 days to contact the creditors to attempt to verify the disputed information and respond. It is always a good idea to send your letters by registered mail, so you have an account of the date they were sent!

Playing The Waiting Game

After 30 days, the credit bureau must respond to your inquiry. In some cases, more documentation may be required if the bureau needs specific information to verify or reject a dispute. As a result, there may be some back and forth prior to the disputes resolution. The trials and tribulations brought on by COVID have changed the rules of the game and the 30 day response regulation has been lifted for the time being. With the bureaus being over inundated with 50% more disputes a day, response times may vary depending on the situation.

There are many times that multiple dispute letters may need to be sent. If there are a large number of mistakes that you found, you usually don’t want to submit more than a few disputed items at a time per each letter.

On average, credit repair can take about three to six months to resolve all of the disputes that you have made. If you have very few items to dispute the whole process could be over in about a month and a half! On the other hand, if you have a large amount of disputes and your credit has never been tended to, it could take the better part of a year!

If you’re doing the work by your self,  you will have to keep a diligent eye on your return letters and work until it is complete. If you have obtained  representation through Credit Law Center, we should be able to give you an idea of how long the repair should take based on  your situation.

Build While Repairs Are Being Made

It is important to remember that just because your credit is being repaired doesn’t mean that your score will shoot up and you will be sitting at that 800 credit score. So even thought the credit repair process may only take 3-6 months, building positive credit could take much longer. Depending on how you go about the credit building process, it could take more than a year to achieve the score you have been pushing for.

There are many ways to build credit and a plethora of different tools at your disposal to  increase your score. From seasoned credit advisers, free consultations, teaching tools and general knowledge, Credit Law Center has your back!

 

Author- Joe Peters

Do you have questions about your credit report? If you would like to speak with one of our attorneys or credit advisors  and complete a free consultation please give us a call at 1-800-994-3070 we would be happy to help.

If you are hoping to dispute and work on your credit report on your own, here is a link that provides you with a few ideas on how to go about DIY Credit Repair.

Check out Credit Law Center Reviews:
Google Reviews, Facebook Reviews
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