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The Roadmap to Better Credit

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How to Establish a Good Credit Score

 

Whether it’s finding a home for your growing family, financing your dream car, entering a career or even attempting to acquire a decent rate on car insurance, everything in our lives revolves around credit. No matter what you do, someone is going to be viewing your past choices to asses if you are a liability in your future endeavors and they could be the deciding factor in whether you are living your life or just surviving.  I’m not saying this to scare everyone or say that without good credit you can’t live the life you are meant to live, but that acquiring good credit could provide opportunities that may seem out of reach!

So, I guess its time to get a credit card and start building my credit! Before we get overzealous with the power we have been given with this seemingly divine piece of plastic, let’s take a look into a few ways to reliably start building and maintain our credit.

 

Good Credit Starts with Good Financial Habits

Many people are trapped in credit purgatory, looking for debt consolidators that can act as magical credit faeries to reset their credit scores after they have fallen behind on payments. If you can’t establish good financial management habits, then the attempt to establish better credit will be futile. When building a house, you must start with a strong foundation and the same goes for credit. Some great financial habits that can help you improve your creditworthiness are:

  1. Record every transaction. I know it seems like a pain to keep everything logged, but in the end, you can observe how much you spend down to the last cent. If you wait to record your transactions, you may lose details along the way.
  2. Round up expenses. Say you go out to eat and your bill comes up to $24.14, you should list the transaction as $25.
  3. Round down income. When recording your transactions, you should round down your income. If you got paid $483.23 for the week, round it down to $483.00. This way you’ll have a few extra bucks when you balance your accounts. If your hard-core round down to $480.00 to save a little more and build the habit!

Start with a Secured Credit Card

Now that you have a good record of your finances, you can show your bank that you have a stable income and can responsibly manage your finances. This puts you in a better position to apply for a secured credit card and shows that you are low risk.

When you acquire your secured card, the bank will require you to deposit the limit of the card into an account. So, if the discussed limit of your card is $500, then you will deposit $500 into the secured account. When you make a purchase with this, the $500 is not touched (unlike a debit card that allows you to withdraw the money in your account). The purpose of the money you deposited in the secured account is to provide collateral if you default on paying off your balance.

 

Pay it Off on Time

Now that you have your secured credit card and you have made a few purchases with it, make sure that you have your balances paid off on time each month. The credit card companies make money from the interest charged for late payments and we are trying to establish and raise our credit!

Since you are beginning to establish credit, your interest rates are going to be pretty high compared to someone with established, good credit. In the end would you rather pay the final $20 that was left on the account, or $200 after the absurd interest rates? Some credit companies could also charge you a late fee or reduce your limit if you fail to pay your balance in full when it’s due!

 

Don’t Use Your Credit for Emergencies

Now, an emergency is classified differently among different people. Some classify an emergency as not having gas left in the car a few days before pay day and they are running on empty. Others classify an emergency as a new plasma screen TV going on sale at their local department store and the sale ends before payday. Learn to use your credit card for when it would be more stressful to pay with cash, don’t have an ATM around and can’t pull out cash or small day to day transactions. If you use your credit card for just “emergencies” you may find yourself slipping into a situation where everything is an emergency and spur of the moment purchases will become more frequent. Not having an 80-inch plasma TV to watch “Stranger Things” on is not an emergency!

 

Strive to be Creditworthy

Credit cards can have quite a lot of perks and pros associated with them; however, it could send you into bankruptcy if you aren’t vigilant in how you handle them. Once you have acquired a good credit score it may be tempting to open many additional cards because it’s easy for banks to lend to you now.  You should strive to be credit worthy and push on till your financial freedom. If you are credit worthy, you’ll have a good credit score and can enjoy your transactions and purchases without having to pull out your journal to log everything. Just like working out to get fit or building your career for a future, establishing and maintain good credit does not happen overnight, but in the end will help you achieve the life you know you are meant to live!

 

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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What’s Stopping You From Borrowing?

I Want To Buy, Now!

Are you preparing to purchase a home in the next few months? It seems that when we are not looking, a home just pops up and finds us, at a time when we were not even contemplating making a move. Then, boom!  The rush is on to beat the clock and make an offer before the next person does. With how quick homes are flying off the market, the best thing to do is be as prepared as possible right now, in the event you do find what you are looking for.

Many borrowers hoping to apply for a home loan are unsure of what a lender might need because it is either their first time, or the process was so long ago. Let’s go more in depth here, about what you will need to get to the point that you are ready to purchase!

Here are 4 things you’ll want to start thinking about before you meet with your lender:

  1. Locating your W2, pay stubs and documents to provide proof of income
  2. Decide if someone will be on the loan with you
  3. How much money you may have/can save for a down payment
  4. Your credit scores
This list will start to prepare you for what your lender will want to discuss with you. More often than not, what is going to keep you from moving through the process as quick as you’d like, is if your credit scores are not where they need to be.
Facts on Fico

FICO is grading you on a few key factors:

  • Payment history
  • New credit
  • Types of credit used
  • Length of credit history
  • Amounts owed

 

If you are looking at your credit report and seeing several derogatory accounts, late payments or other items you will want to look at cleaning up your credit before you go in to a lender. In an effort to lessen the pain of a solid “No” next time you meet a lender, and miss out on your dream home, please consider the following points. If you feel you are a high risk borrower, there are a few things you can you do to ensure that you can lower your risk to lenders. The more prepared you are and the more education you have, the more equipped you will be to get approved and improve your buying power!

4 Challenges of a High Risk Borrower

1. Do you have a low Fico?

You can be sure that your lender will be taking a look at your credit report when you are thinking about purchasing a home. This score is a large portion of what they are using to determine your trustworthiness and the likelihood of you defaulting on a loan, based off previous loans, bank accounts, credit card payments, etc. As important as the scores are in this process, do not let this keep you from going in to see a lender.

If your FICO scores are low there are several things you can do to increase your scores on your own. Read more here, or speak to a credit advisor at Credit Law Center so they can look through your report and ensure you are mortgage ready before you find the home of your dreams.

2. What does your employment status look like? 

Your employment status and employment change are two very different things. Should you be changing jobs often, this may be cause for concern. If you are working a full-time job with regular, consistent pay, creditors prefer this. If you do not work on a set schedule with set pay however, or maybe are self-employed (with less than 2 years of verifiable income), a lender may be very hesitant to lend you any money.

 

 

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3. Are you lacking excess funds?

Although there are several programs in place for borrowers with little to no money down, it is a good idea to save and have some skin in the game for a down payment. Many lenders would prefer to work with someone that has shown financial responsibility and saved and set aside money. A lender may be hesitant if you  do not, and potentially feel like you still may be a risk.

4. Are you avoiding other responsibilities you have?

Late payments impact your credit score the greatest. If a lender sees you have been falling behind on responsibilities you already have, this can be a large red flag during this process. Again, they are considering the likelihood of you to fall behind on the loan, and if you are late on several bills, why would they feel your mortgage would be any different?

If the above apply to you, and you are potentially a high risk borrower, do not let that stop you from pursing a home. As discouraging as things might seem, there is hope for you after some time of getting back on track.

If your credit is not where it should be and your lender has expressed concern, you may look into a few different options within credit repair. If you are in a rush and are pressed for time, Credit Law Center can help you through a quick and affordable process. Each round with Credit Law Center lasts 30-45 days. If you have items on the credit report that have to be removed (collections, tax liens, bankruptcy, etc) allow a credit advisor to walk you through a consultation.

The credit advisors at Credit Law Center will let you know what you can work on, on your end as well as what you may be doing that is keeping you from higher credit scores. With a little help and a guide to walk with you, that new home may be closer than you expected.fund

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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

 

Reporting Death of a Loved One

4 Ways To Not Break The Bank This Mothers Day

With Mother’s Day around the corner, it is time to start gathering some ideas on how we can really make the day special! It is no secret that everything is growing more expensive, and it is becoming increasingly difficulty to not break the bank when it comes to gift, but luckily Credit Law Center has you covered! 

1.) Thrifty Flowers 

One of the most traditional ways to tell someone you love them is to send them beautiful, vibrant flowers. Although this is a wonderful gesture, it can really add up once you consider everything that goes with a wonderful bouquet. 

A terrific way to help cut back on the cost is to bring your own vase or pick out a beautiful vase at a craft store. Floral shops can also become quite expensive as the bouquet is normally priced per flower, consider visiting your local grocery store and make your own small bouquet for as little as $10-$15. 

If you do decide you would like to go with a florist, be sure to ask when the flowers were delivered to make sure you get the freshest pick! 

2.) Creative Piece 

Hobby and craft stores are amazing places to find a Mother’s Day gift! You could find a beautiful piece of art or pick up a fun craft for you and your mother to complete together! Places like Potters Haven offer event days where parties can come in, have a glass of wine and paint together! Add that with a quick lunch and you have the better part of the day set aside to really make your mother feel special! 

3.) Good Eats 

After working in restaurants for several years, it is no question that Mother’s Day is one of the busiest days out of the year. Hour long waits and added stress is not something you or your mother need on her special day. Instead, why not fire up the grill and make a wonderful meal! In the time it would take to get into a restaurant, get seated and get your meal, you could be relaxing at home with cheaper drinks and better service! 

When I was younger, we would have a big family BBQ where everyone would stop at our Aunt Cindy’s house and cook a amazing spread for everyone. Grab the radio, set up the yard game and sip on an ice-cold drink with some of the most important people in your life and have fun! 

4.) Acts of Service 

Sometimes, something as simple as help around the house can be a great gift! Finishing the laundry, completing some house chores, or just helping by going above and beyond during the day is a lovely display of appreciation! Even if it isn’t flashy, acts of service are still quite a viable gift! 

From the Credit Law Center family  to all those special ladies on Mother’s Day, we appreciate all you do!