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What is a Mortgage Credit Score?

Buying your first home is a daunting milestone in everyones life and can bring both joy and anxiety when beginning the process. One large source of anxiety comes from the ever looming need of an acceptional credit score to aquire acceptable rates. For those that meet this criteria as displayed by your credit monitoring service; you may be surprised to know that everything may not be as it seems!

When Jennifer Bingham began house hunting back in 2019, she felt confident that her 740 credit score would secure her dream home when she came across it with an admirable interest rate. As jennifer began the preapprovla process, she was shaken when her bank disclosed that her mortgage credit score was only 700! This score still situated Jennifer in a good credit range, but was unable to get her the rates that she had origionally imagined.

This exact situation happens to many first time home buyers when they find out that they have a mortgage credit score -often showing to be much lower than their  primary score. Consumers have many different credit scores that they are unaware of with the mortgae credit score being only one of them! The difficulty lies with the the fact that it is difficult to view their mortgage credit score unlike their FICO 9 with help of credit information applications. It is not impossible however to track and build your mortgage credit score, but it is important to first understand why there is a gap between your regular credit score and your mortgage credit score.

 

Why is it Different?

A mortgage score, unlike most other credit scores, is based on a formula that hasn’t changed in over 20 years! This is because Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac state these loans must be underwritten to be underwritten based on the FICO formula. Though there have been efforts to make changes to the mortgae credit score, the process has yet to see reults.

The issue with the old formulacomes down the the way it reports. Unlike the more consumer friendly formulas of other credit scores, the old formula may report lower scores for its consumers. Medical debt is one example of an item that is no longer conted toward newer fico scores, but is still taken into account when it comes to the mortgage formula. The same goes for collection debts that have been paid. These paid debs are not counted in the newer formulas, but hold weight when it falls to the classic FICO formula.

Mortgage credit scores are also more difficult to improve than their FICO 9 counterpart. While other FICO formulas have tools like Experian Boost to help to being building credit or suppliment thin credit profiles, mortgage credit does not take these tools into concideration when reporting. With theses reporting diffences between reports, it is not unlikely that there will be a discrepancy of 20 or so points between the two scores.

Another major difference that can be found within your mortgage credit score is the “shoppinh period allowed. Newer formulas allow for a 45 day window where multiple credit requests made by lenders will only count as one inquiry.  With your mortgage socore, that window is only 14 days, meaning more inquiries that will impact your score.

Recently, the Federal Housing Finance Administration (FHFA) has announced that it would concider alternative credit score formulas when it came to mortgages. Sadly, until the concideration leads to action, the old formula will remain in use.

 

How To Improve Your Mortgage Score

The first step to improving your mortgage score is to know what is listed on it by getting a copy. Sites like myFICO.com, though you will have to pay a monthly fee of about $20, will give you access to up to 28 different FICO scores! Another way to find your mortgage score would be to go to a lender and have them pull an informational credit check for pre approval from one of the bureaus!

The second step is to reguarly review your credit report and identify errors when they arrise. More than 70% of Americans have wrongful information on their credit reports that can be challenged for removal! You are legally entitled to one free copy of your report each year, but due to the pandemic, you can request weekly reports from all three bureaus until April 20, 2022!

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.

 

 

 

5 Easy Steps To Start Building Credit

I Have No Credit History!

“I’ll just pay cash for everything.”

I have said many things in my life with the best of intention, but this had to be the one that hurt the most when it failed. When I was younger, like most people out there, I saw credit as a trap to get us to pay double the money for something we couldn’t afford in the first place. I didn’t know that having no credit would affect me in almost every aspect of my life and I learned that having no credit would impact me even harder than having a poor credit score. High car insurance payments, poor rates and high monthly payments on my car and home were just the tip of the iceberg and I knew something had to change!

“OK… but how do I build credit” I thought to myself as I scoured the internet, looking for a referable source of information. Well, after much trial and error and the help of Credit Law Center I happily present my 5 Easy Steps To Building Credit!

Step 1- Acquiring A Credit Card and How To Use It Safely!

So,  to start building credit I got 15 credit cards and…. I’m kidding! No lender in their right mind would set me up with anything other than a secure card.  A secure credit card is the perfect way to start establishing credit while with very little risk. A secured credit cards works the same as any other credit card, but it is backed by a cash deposited. This is a great way to get you begin building your credit and get it to a point where you can acquire an unsecured card later down the line! Once you can acquire the sweet unlimited power of the unsecured credit card, you can begin the task of keeping the over all usage to about 30% of the spending cap. A 30% utilization rate is still about a C+ rating and you really would like to get the utilization rate to around 10-15% in the long run to really build a positive trade line. Just be sure to make your payments on time!

Step 2- Find That Special Someone, Your Co-Signer!

Acquiring a trusted Co-Signer can really get you on the right foot to build credit safely. You need to be extremely diligent however because your co-signer is affected by the positives and the NEGATIVES the same as you. So make sure that both you and your co signer are aware of the consequences of delinquency when dealing with credit, lest you both end up with a credit score in the low 400s.  Attempting a co signer can be difficult for many people attempting to build credit, but a co signer is not the only way to passively grow your credit score!

Step 3- “The Buddy System” -Becoming an Authorized User!

If possible, become an authorized user on a family members or significant others card. This adds their payment history for that card onto your credit files…just make sure they are a responsible cardholder. You don’t need to use the card to reap the benefits as an authorized user most of the time, but please, if you end up using the card, be sure to pay your fair share!

Step 4- You Work for the Bills, Make the Bills Work for You!

Rent- Reporting services like RentTrack take a bill you are already paying and put it on your credit report, showing off how responsible you have been with those on time payments. Not every credit score takes these payments into account, but those that do could be the deciding factor for a car loan! This will be a slower way to build up your credit, but it is a steady

Step 5- Establish Positive Trade Lines and Keep Them Positive!

Paying your accounts on time, low credit utilization, keeping your accounts open and keeping positive credit history is paramount in establishing perfect credit. I say this as one of my steps to building credit because it is important to acquire these habits early! Your credit is an investment, the more that you put into it early, the better off you will be in the long run!

 

Slow And Steady Wins The Race

Though your credit score will not sky rocket from 400- 800 over night, these 5 steps will help you climb! If you can make your payments on time, establish positive trade lines, establish a positive credit history and keep your card usage below 30% then you will notice your score climb. After that, it is only a matter of time until you are sitting high at the fabled 800 credit score! Your credit is like a garden, you need to give it plenty of attention, take care of it and occasionally pick out the weeds for it to flourish!

 

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.

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Debt Collector or Scam; How Do I Tell?

How To Deal With Debt Collectors

I have recently been receiving strange calls from someone trying to collect money from me, what do I do? As a consumer, it is important to be educated about the process by which an actual collection agency attempts to collect debts as opposed to scam callers asking you to meet them at the nearest CVS with no real explanation and for a large sum of money. It is not uncommon that if you are receiving phone calls, it will continue to happen until you can do something to make them quit.

 

Your Rights Under the FDCPA

The FDCPA (Fair Debt Collection Practices Act) has been put into place for the consumers protection. Though they don’t always follow the rules, harassment is illegal and will not be tolerated. There are many avenues as far a legal actions you can engage in should a debt collector call and harass you. While it is legal for a debt collector to call you and attempt to collect a debt, it is not legal for them to harass or threaten a consumer such as many scam callers and a few debt collectors do. There is a major difference and it is hard to track scam calls down. Many legitimate debt collectors take correct steps when making their phones calls however, should you continue to receive calls this is what you should look for:

They must

  • Identify themselves in every form of communication
  • Address what the call is in regards to “This is an attempt to collect a debt”
  • Verify the name and address of the original collector
  • Advise that you have the right to dispute the debt

If you receive a phone call and the company calling you does not do provide the information above, do not pay them or agree to met them to provide any money. You will want to contact an attorney to see if there are any steps that can be taken.

Taking Legal Action

The FDCPA has set rules in place for the way communication is to be handled by the debt collectors. Should a debt collector or agency not abide by those regulations, you may be able to take legal action moving forward.

  • Collector cannot call outside of the hours of 8am and 9pm on your local timezone
  • Auto dialing or numerous calls in the effort to annoy, abuse or harass the consumer is not prohibited
  • Profane or abusive language is not allowed
  • Calls to family, friends, or place of employment is not allowed
  • A Collector cannot call and threaten to report falsely to credit reporting agencies
  • Once a consumer discloses they are working and represented by an attorney, communication must stop

A few examples of harassing phone calls are on our website, you can access them here.

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Suing the Debt Collector

If you feel you have been dealing with harassing collectors, please contact Credit Law Center so we can help you build your case. We have sued all three of the credit bureaus and are constantly helping consumers become more educated about their credit as well as their rights under the FCRA (Fair Credit Reporting Act). This can be a fairly lengthy process, but in the grand scheme of things, having those calls come to an end are worth moving forward and pursuing legal action.

Continued Harassment and Next Steps

The best thing you can do to help yourself in a scenario like this is document and never throw anything away that may help an attorney out. We advise our clients to document everything such as the time and date you spoke, who you spoke with and what company they work for and any of the phone call details that you may be able to remember. Some other things that will help in this process are:

  1. Collection Letters you received
  2. Any voicemails left, save them to a storage device
  3. Telephone Bills
  4. Notes and contact info taken during call
  5. Take screenshots of your caller ID info

 

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

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.