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Fact or Fiction; A Look At Hard Inquiries

 

What's the Difference Between a “Hard” and a “Soft” Credit Inquiry?

Whether you are applying for a new credit card or a home loan, hard inquiries are constantly present when attempting to build credit. Although hard inquires are one of the most common items found on a credit report, there is still much mystery surrounding their effect on a credit score. In todays “Fact or Fiction” we will be taking a deep dive into hard inquiries to shed light on some of the most common misconceptions and answer some of your most asked questions!

 

What Is A Hard Inquiry?

It is a common misconception that in any instance that there is a request to pull your credit, a hard inquiry will be listed on your report. A hard inquiry will only occur when you inquire for financing with a lender directly. This does not apply when you are inquiring for pre approval or pulling your credit for informational purposes and is considered a soft inquiry. Unlike hard inquiries, a soft inquiry will not appear on your report and does not impact your credit score.

   -Soft Inquiries-

Soft inquiries are a little different from hard inquiries; while they do show up on your credit report, they are strictly for your personal reference and have no impact on your credit score. Soft inquiries are not visible to lenders as they are strictly made for informational and pre approval purposes and are only seen by the consumer. Soft inquiries will fall off of your report in anywhere from 12-24 months depending on their type!

How Long Do Hard Inquiries Stay On A Report?

Hard inquiries differ from other items on your report when it comes down to their expiration date. A hard inquiry will usually stay on your report for about 2 years but only affects your score for about 12 months! Hard inquiries are meant to serve as a timeline of when and how often you have applied for credit and can mean different things to different lenders. Multiple hard inquiries can portray a sense desperation to a lender as it shows that you have attempted to apply and were denied by multiple lenders. In some cases, like when inquiring for a home loan, there is a short window where multiple inquiries will count as a one!

 

How Much Do Hard Inquiries Hurt My Score?

There are many misconceptions about just how much a hard inquiry is “worth” when it comes down to affecting your score. It isn’t a case of “One hard inquiry amounts to 5 points and if I have 10 hard inquiries, that means I’ll drop 50 points”. Hard inquiries do not necessarily have a dedicated point value and their potency really falls to how healthy your credit score is prior. Someone with a long positive payment history and multiple open accounts with low credit utilization will not be as heavily affected by hard inquiries as someone who is new to building credit.

Can I Dispute Hard Inquiries?

Unlike other items on your report that can be disputed due to infractions in their listed information, legitimate hard inquiries are difficult to remove. If a hard inquiry  is pulled from your report without your knowledge, you do have the right to request its removal. This also applies in the instance of identity theft as the application is not legitimate to your inquiry.

Do you have hard inquiries on your report that were made without your knowledge? Do you have questions about your credit report or credit questions in general? f you would like to speak with one of our attorneys or credit advisors and complete a free consultation please give Credit Law Center a call at 1-800-994-3070 we would be happy to help.

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       -Disputing Inquiries Made By Car Dealerships-

How to Find the Best Car Dealerships in Los Angeles - Silverback Automotive

 

Disputing multiple inquiries made by an auto dealership is a rough area for many consumers. When submitting a loan application at a dealership, they will often inquire with multiple lenders to attempt to get the best financing opportunity for the consumer. This practice is referred to as shotgunning and is common in every auto dealership and when signing  a car loan application, is essentially giving the dealer permissible purpose to make multiple credit pulls. Depending on the FICO score used, similar to shopping for a home loan, there is often a window where the multiple inquiries will only count as a single inquiry on the report. The FICO score used will depend on which lender is being inquired with.

 

Article by Joe Peters

 

The In’s and Out’s of Medical Debt

What is Considered Medical Debt

With there being more than 45 different FICO scores in circulation there is bound to be some variances in how each score is reported. Each debt listed on a report holds different weight; from revolving debt to past due debt, each instance is judged differently across each scoring model when determining risk. With the emergence of the Covid 19 pandemic, many consumers have experienced a new type of debt over the past year, unpaid medical debt.

It is rare for a medical debt to appear on your report listed under your practitioners’ company or service provider. You will primarily see your medical debt appear on your report as a collection under a third parties’ agency.

Medical collections is one of the more daunting debts held by a consumer as they do not willingly place themselves in the situation unlike opening a tradeline with a credit card provider or loan officer. The dilemma sits with the morality behind paying off the debt. Medical service provides are entitled to payment for their services like any other provider. On the other hand, no one chooses to fall ill or succumb to injury. Regardless of the situation, there have been many changes made by the credit reporting and scoring communities to attempt to pad and reduce the impact of medical debt to the consumer.

Are you unsure what is on your report? You’re entitled to one free copy of your credit report every 12 months from each of the three nationwide credit reporting companies but monitoring your credit on a regular basis is the best way to help protect your score! Sites like Credit Armor allow consumers to monitor all three bureau reports with monthly pulls, track how your credit score changes over each month, and provides helpful identity theft protection tools like fraud insurance!

 

NCAP

In March of 2015, the three credit reporting companies (Trans Union, Equifax and Experian) established a plan to provide more accurate and accessible information. The National Consumer Assistance Plan was set to help consumers better understand and correct errors found on their reports as to bolster their credit portfolio. This plan adjusted common practices in many beneficial ways:

1- Consumers who acquire their annual credit report and dispute information that causes the report to change will receive an additional free credit report after updates have been made.

2- The reporting time for medical debts has been changed to report after 180 days to allow insurance to be applied. Credit reporting agencies will also be removed from the reports that previously listed medical collections if they have been paid or are being paid by insurance. If the debt is reported by a debt collector, the account still needs to be noted as being a medical debt as stated by the Fair Credit Reporting Act in Section 623.

3- Traffic tickets, parking tickets or any other debt that didn’t not come from a contract or agreement will not appear on a consumer’s report.

4- Victims of identity theft will receive special attention or those that have another individual’s information listed on their report.

Do you have medical debt on your credit report? Do you have questions about your credit report or credit questions in general? f you would like to speak with one of our attorneys or credit advisors and complete a free consultation please give Credit Law Center a call at 1-800-994-3070 we would be happy to help.

 

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An Ever-Changing Reporting System

Every few years a new credit scoring model is developed in an attempt to make meaningful changes in how credit report entries are considered. Currently we are acknowledging almost 50 different FICO scores, each assessing different aspects of the consumers debt. VantageScore (another leader in the credit scoring community) has also faced many changes in their scoring model throughout the years when it comes to medial debts. In the past, VantageScore had ignored medical debts that were furnished by the original medical provider. Though the situation was found to be extremely rare, this meant that a medical facilities debt had no impact on any generation of the current VantageScore (1,2,3 and 4).

Now, with the later VantageScore 3.0 and 4.0, all paid collections are ignored and removed from the account. This had provided a more lenient scoring model that has been much more forgiving to consumers who face medical debt. Keep in mind that a medical debt that is paid by insurance is different from an account that is settled. A settled account is not applicable when it comes to removal and only paid collections made by insurance companies will be removed.

The most current and forgiving VantageScore (4.0) is the only scoring model that distinguishes medical collections from other accounts on your report. This means that medical collections are in a realm of their own leaving accounts such as credit cards and auto loans to be reported normally. This is meant to minimize the impact of a medical collection on consumers reports and better differentiate these accounts from all other types of collections.

Article by: Joe Peters

 

Have You Experienced Identity Theft?

The Federal Trade Commission has stated that reports of identity theft have skyrocketed to record highs in 2020 and have more than tripled over the past three years! In 2019 the total amount of reported cases was around 650,00o while cases in 2020 has  breached 1 million! It is grossly apparent that consumers need to bolster themselves against the onslaught of thieves looking to take advantage of there information. In this blog, we will go over how to protect yourself when it comes to identity theft, what to look out for and what you can do if someone has stolen your identity!

Ways Thieves obtain your Identity:

  • Stolen Credit Cards
  • Documents or receipts from the trash
  • Phone or email scams
  • Hacking unsecured and wireless networks

Types of Identity Theft?

Once a thief has gained access to your personal information they can obtain access to your existing credit cards, open new accounts, file fraudulent tax returns and more. Below we have named a few:

  1. Financial Theft
  2. Medical Theft
  3. Insurance Theft
  4. Criminal Theft
  5. Driver’s License Fraud
  6. Social Security
  7. Phishing Scams

Have you been a victim of identity theft? 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 Credit Law Center a call at 1-800-994-3070 we would be happy to help.

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Ways to Protect Yourself

1.Be Careful of What You Share. With social media and technology on the rise, these pesky crooks can find out a lot of personal information about just by doing a simple search. The information you share on Facebook, Linkedin and all the other media sites these criminals may be able to use the information you have shared to validate your identity. When you are sharing be careful of the information you share.

2.Keep Financial and Personal Information Secure. Here is another example of where technology can come back to bite us if we are not careful. Many Americans use their computers to pay bills, keep bank statements, financial planning and much more. If you do this the important thing to remember is to make sure your computer has a firewall installed; you should use anti-virus and anti-spyware software and secure your wireless network. Another important reminder is when you do have the actual hard copy of any financial or personal information dispose of it properly, and always keep them in a safe place.

3. Keep Your Cellphone Protected. Cell phones apps allow us to track our bank accounts, track your budget and finances, store credit card information, and just about anything else your heart desires. When downloading these apps make sure you are using a trusted and reputable company. Always check the ratings and reviews of any app you are downloading. Make sure you secure your device with a strong password, in case you lose it.

4. Make Sure Your Passwords Are Strong and Secure.  Create strong passwords, not easy to guess. Using passwords that contain, kids names, birth dates, maiden names or anything that may be guessed.

5. Monitor Your Credit. You’re entitled to one free copy of your credit report every 12 months from each of the three nationwide credit reporting companies but monitoring your credit on a regular basis is the best way to help protect your score! Sites like Credit Armor allow consumers to monitor all three bureau reports with monthly pulls, track how your credit score changes over each month, and provides helpful identity theft protection tools like fraud insurance!

Are You a Victim?

If you believe your identity has been stolen, it is necessary to immediately contact any financial institutions we have accounts with and place a hold on them. You will also want to contact the FTC to file a formal complaint. Make sure to provide them with any and all questionable activity so they can thoroughly build a case.

Building Credit Without Cards

Building Up Your Fico

Understanding and building credit in a positive way takes discipline and some education. Do you recall being taught in school, how to build your credit scores? Did your teachers let you know how big of a role credit would play in your life as you got older? Honestly, it is probably likely that even while going through the process of applying for a credit card or car loan, you were still unsure of what your credit scores really meant.

So what is a credit score made of?  Your FICO is determined by the categories below on the pie chart. Payment history and amounts owed on your credit make up the two largest portions of your scores. What if you do not have credit cards? There are a few other options for you, so that you can still fulfill parts of the FICO scoring model.

Facts on Fico

The Importance Of Credit

Can you imagine not having access to a bank that could lend you money for your home or car? Credit is so important for everyone, whether they have a credit card or not.  A lender or banking institution pulls your credit in order to see how reliable and likely you are to default on your loan. If your payment history is bad or you are lacking credit history, it is hard for them to lend to someone that they cannot be sure of. If you are someone that has no credit score, that is almost as bad as having bad scores. It is hard to justify lending to you when they are not sure how you use your money or pay your bills.

The Typical Way To Build Credit-Credit Cards

If you are opening your first credit card, your bank is usually open to issuing you a credit card with them. This credit card is not to take on your next shopping spree, but small purchases like filling up your vehicle. Many people open up credit card for “emergencies” only, while some use them and live outside of their means. Credit can end up getting you into large amounts of debt if you are not careful and capable of setting limits for yourself. So what are a few other ways to start getting a score, without the card in hand?

Other Options Besides Credit Cards

Become an authorized user

Parents trying to help their children build and establish credit usually allow for them to become an authorized user on a credit card. Prior to adding your kid on the credit card of your choosing, take a look at the length of history and the payments on all of the credit cards you have. If you have an old card, with no late payments and great credit history this is the best one to add your child to.

Young adults trying to establish credit should talk to parents or family members that will allow them to be added to a card as an authorized user. Understand that at no point do they give you access to the credit card but rather, you are just now benefiting from their positive history while having to make no effort or open up new credit lines.

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Report Monthly Bills

Are you currently renting and paying your bills on time? There are now many companies that will allow for you to have your rent reported. It can be very frustrating to constantly pay bills that are not showing up to show your credit worthiness, so many companies have listened to consumers and now are helping them out in an effort to eventually get a loan.

Join A Credit Union

A starter loan at the credit union works about the same as a secured credit card does. In order to build, the consumer deposits their own money to get started. The funds are not immediate but secured in a savings account until the term is complete. Making payments on this credit building loan are most important as again, positive payment history makes up 35% of the FICO pie chart. These are usually shorter terms (12-36 months) just to begin building credit. Often times, proof of income is required as well.

While it may seem a credit card is the only way to build credit quickly, that is not always the case. There are other avenues to take rather than signing up for the first credit card that is dropped in your mailbox. If you don’t trust yourself to avoid those credit card solicitations visit this site to keep from receiving junk mail and credit cards filling up your mailbox.

 

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

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.

 

freezing your credit

Closing Credit Cards? How Can It Affect You?

From a young age we were taught the importance of living debt free. When assessing your personal finance goals, you may find it tempting to close out some of your credit card accounts in an attempt to lower your debt. To many, it may feel good to close out an account that held negative payment history or feel at piece with one less credit card in your wallet to temp unneeded purchases. While the sense of accomplishment may be present, the effects of closing a credit card account can be a detriment to many aspects of your credit report.

 

When Should I Close my Credit Card

In terms of  your credit score; canceling your credit card can harm you in a few different ways. A large portion of your credit score is dependent on the length of your credit history. The longer you make on time payments on an account, the better impact it will have when building your credit score. The good news is, if you have established a positive credit history with a particular card and do decide that closing it is the best option; it will be ten years before that cards history falls off of your account. This means that even if the account is unused, it will still factor into your credit history length!

Your credit history length is not the only aspect of the report that can change when closing a credit card account; your credit utilization rate will also take a hit. Your credit utilization rate is based off of the available amount used out of the cards available limit. This means that the lower the balance, the more positive effect the account will have on your score! Depending on the amount available to you, cards removed with a higher limit will harm you more than a card with a small available limit.

If you are attempting to establish credit, then closing your account can be a harmful setback. If you have already established positive payment history and have other revolving account active, closing a card may not harm your your score or harm it at all.

Looking for help in deciding if you should close out one of your credit cards? 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 Credit Law Center a call at 1-800-994-3070 we would be happy to help.

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How Does Canceling A Credit Card Hurt My Score?

A single credit card can be the deciding factor when it comes to achieving a higher score. The majority of your credit report analyzes how well you are able to manage your open accounts and how trust worthy you are with the funds you have been allotted. A exemplary credit score will mirror the individual who holds long term, well managed accounts.

Once you have closed an existing account, the amount of available credit to be reported and your credit profile becomes less diverse. It is important to know that opening too many accounts or applying for new accounts too frequently can also hurt your score. The key is to manage the accounts you have currently open and not apply for new ones if the current accounts are not in order.

As mentioned previously, your credit utilization is another factor that is effected when a credit card account is closed.  Say that you have 3 cards with $5,000  in available credit ($15,000 all together). If you utilize $3000 of your limit per month, you are sitting at about a 20% utilization rate among all accounts. If you happen to close out one of these cards and keep using $3,000 each month, you have risen your credit utilization rate to about 33%.

 

Should I Re-Open My Closed Accounts?

Once a credit card is closed, the only way to re open the account is to contact your creditor and attempt to negotiate a reopening of the account. Reopening the account can prove to be troublesome in many cases as the creditor will treat the reopening as a new account. The creditor will pull your credit report and evaluate your credit habits since closing the account when determining whether or not to reopen your card.

Instead of closing your card,  an alternative measure would be to keep the card off of your person in a safe place and use it only on rare occasions to keep it from going inactive. A small charge should keep the account active and avoid the cards automatic cancellation.

 

Always Remember

  1. Do not close positive credit accounts.
  2. Avoid opening a gratuitous amount of accounts (just a couple of cards should do the trick).
  3. Only attempt to reopen a closed account after you have established good credit practices and can show credit worthiness.
  4. Assess your personal credit situation before considering  closing a card.

 

Have you experienced a drop in your credit score after closing a credit card or a decrease in your cards limit and want to get your credit back on track? Follow us on Facebook or join us on our site for tips and tools to help get you back on the road to better credit!

 

 

Decrease In Credit Card Limit? What can I do?

How Does A Decrease In Credit Limit Effect Me? 

Your credit utilization rate is one of the most important factors when it comes to your credit score. Depending on how much of the available balance you use will reflect what kind of borrower you are and can be the deciding factor in a substantial credit boost. The lower your credit utilization rate, the better impact the account will have on your credit report. 

It can be frustrating to hold a lower credit utilization rate of 15% on an open trade line, but find that with a drop to your allotted limit, you have almost doubled your original rate. This can lead to lower credit scores and curbs one’s buying power substantially! A sudden change in your credit habits can also portray you as a risky borrower and can spur other lenders to reconsider limits as well.

Can They Do That?!

Just as a card issuer can raise your credit limit as a reward for your continued loyalty or due to your personal request, they can also lower the amount you can access when borrowing from them. This can happen for a multitude of reasons but primarily is due to the cardholder being seen to have a higher risk of default.  An example can be seen with holders that have added an authorized user onto the account; if one has a substantially lower credit score, the lender may see the account as being at risk. Another example comes with the recent dealings of the Covid 19 epidemic. With many borrowers experiencing financial difficulties in the last year, lenders have had to take protective actions with the exponential rise of credit utilization from their borrowers. 

Though federal laws provide some protections related to credit limit decreases, banks usually have free rein to edit your credit limit as they see needed. This can be seen as an unfavorable or even shady tactic, but as they are the ones lending the money, the ball rests in their court. 

What Are My Rights? 

If the credit changes do not breach your cardholder agreement or federal credit regulations, issuers can make changes to your card’s terms as they see fit. Currently, there are no laws that can protect consumers from a credit limit decrease or the damage that will potentially occur with the change. 

The Fair Credit Reporting Act does require the issuer to send an adverse action notice to the consumer when they take an action based on your credit report. This does protect you from misinformation if another person’s poor account history is added to your report; you will receive notice of that change and can take appropriate action to correct it! 

The good news is that it is extremely rare for an issuer to reduce your credit limit lower than the amount you have already charged to your card (IE: if you have a credit utilization rate of $2000 and you have charged $1500 to the account, it is extremely unlikely for the issuer to lower the limit below that $1500). If there is a rare case of the issuer decreasing the amount below the current borrowed amount, there are CARD Act provisions that can protect you from any fees that may come from maxing out the account. With this law in place, your issuer is unable to charge the “over the limit” fee within 45 days from the credit limits change.

Has your credit score dropped because of a recent cut to your credit limits? 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 Credit Law Center a call at 1-800-994-3070 we would be happy to help.

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How Can I Get My Old Limit Restored? 

Now that your limit has been cut, what are some steps you can take to begin restoring it? If you have had your credit limit lowered, the first thing you need to do is verify with your card issuer and ask a representative for an explanation for the credit limit drop. Depending on the reason for the limit cut, there are a few things you can do!

If the cutback was caused by a financial setback that prevented you from making your payments or keeping your balance in good standings, just explaining the situation can make all the difference.  This could be going over what exactly happened that threw off your standing or an explanation of what steps you are going to take to get everything back in order! Many issuers would be more than happy to work with you to restore your credit limit if certain criteria are met! This can be anything from making on-time payments over an extended period of time or paying down your balance to a certain number.

Another way you can potentially help your situation would be to write a goodwill letter to the issuer! A goodwill letter can also prompt the issuer to remove a late payment from the report depending on your credit history. This option can take substantially longer to take effect and is only valid if you held prior positive payment history.

Your issuer is not required by law to make changes to restore your previous credit limit and these prior attempts may not show results. If you are denied and you believe that the card company is neglecting to assist you in any way, you can file a complaint with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau to attempt to provide urgency to the situation.

 

Don’t Put Yourself At Risk

It is not common for card issuers to make changes to your credit limit, but there many cases where it does happen. There are a few ways that can help ensure you are never the target of a credit limit cut. Be sure to monitor your credit report for any changes, errors, and fraudulent accounts that could lead to a credit limit cut. You are entitled by law to one free credit report per year from each of the major credit bureaus, and it can be obtained at AnnualCreditReport.com. There are many other monitoring services out there like Credit Armor that take a deep dive into your credit report and provide helpful tools to help dispute and correct misinformation on your report.

The best way to prevent a decreased credit limit and keep your credit in good standings is to make sure to keep your credit utilization as low as possible, pay your balances on time and monitor your report for any inconsistencies that may pop up!

 

 

MORTGAGE LENDING REFORM

Credit Repair for Veterans

How It Works: Veteran Credit Repair 

 

Buying a Home with a VA Loan: 8 Mistakes to Avoid | Mortgage Solutions  Financial

No matter if you are a member of the armed services or a civilian, almost every lender will require a minimum credit score when accepting financing inquiries. In today’s blog, we will go over how credit works for veterans, observe potential loan options and take a deep dive into repairing your credit!

 

Know Your Options 

Before we get too far ahead of ourselves, we need to talk about potential uses for your credit score; primarily acquiring financing. It is best to research all your options before settling with a particular lender. Even veterans with exceptional credit scores and a large down payment can benefit from comparing loans. 

 

Understanding Your Finances 

The first step to reaching your credit goals would be to consider your financial stability before making major credit decisions. Setting a financial plan that matches your situation is important to safely establish and repair your credit. Assess both positive and negative financial habits and question if they are leading you in the right direction.  

 

Personal and Business Benefits 

If you are looking to buy a home, veterans are eligible for a VA home loan! A VA home loan often does not require mortgage insurance, has flexible underwriting requirements, and requires no down payment! If you are looking for more information over VA loans, you may want to utilize the Veterans Benefits Administrations website. 

If you are looking to start a business of your own, then an SBA 504 loan is what you are looking for! These loans are designed to help you buy equipment and commercial real estate for small business owners! Alongside an SBA 504 loan, there are many grants, business development programs to help veterans reach their financing goals (many of which are backed by the U.S Small Business Administration). 

 

Taking A Deep Dive into Your Credit Score 

How Do I Improve my FICO® Credit Score? | Enterprise Bank

One of the most important steps when assessing your financial plan is to review and understand your credit score. Your FICO score is the determining factor when it comes to a lender accepting a financing inquiry. Your FICO score is made up of several categories, each with a different weight . 

1- Payment History (35%): Your payment history is made up of each open tradeline reported under your name and considers each individual payment made and missed over the accounts lifetime. 

2- Available Credit (30%): Your available credit is the amount of credit allowed by each lender from open cards and loans. 

3- Length of Credit (15%): Your Length of Credit views how long you have held each open account on your profile. New credit lines also have an impact here as well. 

4- Types of Credit (10%): The types of credit on your report include credit cards, mortgages, car payments and sometimes even utilities! 

5- Credit Inquiries (10%): This is how many times you have recently inquired about financing or for new tradelines. 

 

Credit Repair Options 

There are many ways to improve and repair your credit on your own and with the help of experienced credit experts. One of the best ways to help your credit is to make sure you are consistently making payments on time, pay down any outstanding balances and limit your credit utilization below 30% of your available balance. Take in mind, the lower your credit utilization, the better your results will be! 

 

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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Recent Updates to VA Loans Everyone Should Know About

Acclimating to New Changes

Last year was an interesting year; with the COVID-19 pandemic and the presidential election, everything seemed slightly different. However, not everything that happened last year was negative, with the previous year bringing some significant updates to VA home loans, which have since significantly increased their usage. According to recent data, the use of VA loans increased by 11.4% from 2019 to 2020, bringing a total of more than 1.2 million loans guaranteed in one year due to these changes.

Signed into law on June 25, 2019, by the U.S. President, the Bluewater Navy Act has brought some significant changes to the VA loan program. The White House passed the act intending to compensate Vietnam War Veterans who got exposed to harmful chemicals during their deployment. The law also changed two significant parts of the VA loan program by changing the VA loan funding fee and the VA’s loan limits.

Changes to the Funding Fee

VA Funding Fee Changes for 2020 | HOUSE Team

The VA funding fee, a one-time payment that VA loan applicants have to pay on their loan, was temporarily changed. The change made it so that Active Duty Service Members pay an increased funding fee of 0.30%, which previously was at 0.15%. Members of the National Guard and members of the reserves, on the other hand, are now paying a lower amount on their funding fees. However, these changes are temporary and are said to last for at least the next two years.

Active Duty Service Members who have a purple heart can have their funding fee removed as long as they close their home while in an active-duty status. Also, veterans with disabilities who were already exempt from paying the funding fee did not see any changes to their funding fee payment requirements.

Removal of the VA Home Loan Limit Previously, borrowers who applied for a VA loan had to deal with VA county loan limits, which varied per county. That is no longer the case as the VA completely removed these loan limit requirements for first-time VA home loan borrowers. Therefore, VA home loan recipients now have the opportunity to live in more affluent communities, previously unaffordable due to the VA loan limits.

Applicants who already have a VA loan and want to take out a second one are still subject to their county VA loan limit, which on average, as of 2021, has a limit of $548,250, which can vary per county.

It is important to note that although the loan limit removal allows lenders to lend out more, it does not mean that lenders won’t limit how much you can borrow. Since loans are given out by lenders and not the VA, there can still be limits set for how much you can borrow. Currently, VA Home Loan Centers has a loan limit of $5,000,000 for first-time VA loan borrowers.

Native American Veterans who apply for a VA home loan and plan to purchase a home on Federal Trust Land no longer have to deal with loan limit requirements.

What is a VA Home Loan?

MOAA - Inspector General Finds VA Overcharged Disabled Vets on Home Loans

Often touted as one of the best government-guaranteed home loans available, VA home loans offer several significant benefits. These include no down payment requirements, no mortgage premiums, low-interest rates, low monthly payments, and fixed mortgages, which last anywhere between 15 to 30 years.

Also, the U.S. Government guarantees these loans, giving lenders protection if borrowers cannot afford to make their monthly mortgage payments and end up defaulting. Hence, lenders are more lenient with their application requirements and are willing to work with applicants with a low credit score.

Conclusion

The signing of the Bluewater Navy Act has brought changes to the VA home loan program. These changes increased the amount of housing opportunities for our brave men and women in uniform. The law improves an already excellent government loan program by empowering borrowers with the removal of VA loan limits.

Phil Georgiades is the Certified Leasing Specialist for VA Home Loan Centers, a government-sponsored brokerage specializing in VA Home Loans. He has also been a real estate professional for 22 years. To apply for a VA loan, call us at (877) 432-5626.

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 Credit Law Center 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.