Entries by Credit Law Center

Credit Repair │ Mistakes on My Credit Report

The 3 Credit Reporting Companies: Equifax, Transunion, and Experian

There are three entities that your FICO scores are provided by: Experian, Transunion and Equifax. Each credit bureau reports your scores, which can sometimes vary based on the information they have. Do you wonder why your scores are so different? To ensure that the most accurate information is being given to the credit agencies, there are a few things you will want to double check when you receive a copy of your credit report. You are not alone! It is very common for consumers to have three different credit scores, however, understanding your report will help you piece together why each is so different.

Your Personal Information

The report will have important information that is specific to you. If you notice that there are other names, incorrect date of birth or incorrect address information, you may have a mixed file. If you are married, your credit report is still separate from your spouse so you each will want to check your report. Pay close attention to:

  1. Name
  2. Social Security Number
  3. Date of birth
  4. Address
  5. Phone number

Common names in large cities post a potential risk for mixed files. It is important to check your credit report often and look for mistakes. If you find errors, you will want to dispute this with the credit bureaus to change it. Just this small correction can make an impact on your scores. If one bureau has correct information, but the other two do not, you may notice one is higher than the other two.

free credit repair consultation

Work History

This section of your credit report is used in order to verify your identity. If you are missing employer information, you can have it added although it is not likely for this to have much impact on your file.

Account Information

One of the most important sections of the report is where your accounts are showing status. In this section of your credit report, you will want to look closely at the dates of when the accounts were added and reporting bureaus. You will see:

  1. Open accounts
  2. Closed accounts
  3. Disputes
  4. Payment history
  5. Dates the accounts were opened or closed (by creditor or consumer)
  6. Balances
  7. Loan payment history/status

Each account you have can report to the bureaus at different times. This is another reason that you may notice a variation in the credit scores. To get the best possible scores and outcomes for major things like a home loan purchase, call your creditors and see what day they report to the bureaus. There are a many moving parts to the puzzle, but knowing when each reports will allow you to know when your scores will look the best they possibly can and then you can time it right for when a lender or bank pulls your credit.  

Public Record/Inquiries

Credit Inquiries are not what is typically impacting your credit if your scores are low. Often times, this is what clients think is causing a low FICO but in reality, negative marks in the public record section or accounts with high balances/late payments are where the score is taking a hit.

 

Credit Repair Attorneys Are Ready

If you need credit help, there are credit repair attorneys that can work for you to dispute items on the credit reports. Mistakes on a credit report can hinder you from buying a home, car or even qualifying for a job. Whether you think you have a mistake on your report or not, a second opinion is never bad. 79% of credit reports contain errors. Check your accounts regularly or invest in credit monitoring.

The Home Buying Process│How To Find Financial Assistance

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

 

Single Parents Becoming Home Owners│3 Steps To Faster Savings

Do You Want A McDouble Or A House?

Are you a single parent currently thinking about buying a home? Does the thought of buying a home sound unattainable and impossible? If you have been struggling to make headway as a single parent and are trying to figure out how to achieve the “American dream” you have heard of I am here to tell you it can be done.  Four months ago, I spoke with someone that said I was probably not going to buy a home for another 8 months and I move into a new home in exactly one month.

As a single parent, there are many sacrifices you make on a day to day basis. More than likely your finances are already stretched as far as they can go and you may be thinking, “How would I even be able to start saving money for a down payment?”

I looked at my finances four months ago and thought the same thing. I was frustrated with where I was at, realizing my savings account was nonexistent.  I asked myself what really was going on with my finances and called a local financial planner and we talked through an expense sheet. Very quickly I noticed how much money was going to non-essentials.

Re-Evaluate Your Expenses

I wrote a note on my desk that read “Do you want a Mcdouble or a new house?” It was that simple. It wasn’t that I was spending my money at Mcdonalds, but that I was constantly allowing a dollar here, four there and it starts to really add up!

You may be shocked to see how much money you actually have when you cut out the things that are not a necessity to your family.

I figured out that I was not going to be able to buy a home at the rate that I was going. I had good credit, but no savings and knew I would need money for a down payment. I found three steps that were necessary to get to buying the first home that worked for me and that may be a good starting point for you as well.

The Goal of Homeownership

Here’s what I did first:

When my paychecks deposited, I changed my mindset. When payday came, I challenged myself to think how much money I could save, rather than how much I could spend.

  1. Paid all bills that needed to be paid on the first, immediately (rent, daycare, and utilities)

  2. Set a budget for groceries and gas until next pay period with a little to spare for miscellaneous things or to roll over to the next check

  3. Moved everything left into savings

Depending on your job and pay, what you move may not be a lot of money, however, starting the habit of moving things over into savings immediately starts to train the brain to pay yourself first and not spend the extra money.

I was able to start by saving about $300 for the month by moving my money over immediately. Once the second check of the month came, I found I couldn’t move as much over due to the rent being due but I stuck to the plan and remained consistent.

The next thing I did: Found a part-time job

This is where the game changed for me. My side job allowed me to bring in $300 extra a month exactly. Any time I made any extra money for anything, birthday, Christmas etc it went to savings as well and I didn’t touch it again.  Maybe you don’t have the ability to work part-time or don’t want to. For me, this is how I was able to cut my time frame down to four months.

  1. Took half of each check and paid down my lowest credit card

  2. Took the other half of the money to put straight to savings

Thirdly, I knew that in order to get approved for a home loan, my credit scores would have to be better. I got both of my credit cards paid down to below 30% utilization and then once that was accomplished put all funds from the side job immediately into savings and watched it grow. If your credit is what is keeping you from buying a home, you may want to speak with a credit advisor about what you can do quickly, in order to maximize your credit scores.

The last piece of advice was probably the hardest for me to do but helped the most. I cooked two meals for the week every week, something different for lunch and dinner and ate the same two meals. If I did go out to eat, it was because I had a gift card or a free meal. Shopping at Aldi and taking lunch saved me the most money while trying to build onto my savings and start to become more disciplined about my spending.

I didn’t want a McDouble; I wanted a house!

Clear to Close

Preparing to buy a home was not easy but it is manageable and if you want to, it can be done. What excites you? If it is having a backyard for your child to play in, I invite you to put a photo up at your office so you can see every day what you are working toward and who you are doing it for. I personally wanted to get my daughter into a great school district and that was the goal so we could move by the time our lease was up.

Prior to November, I didn’t even have $30 in my savings account and now I am moving into my own home. In four months, I did what I thought was impossible! As soon as I changed my thought process about where the money went, everything changed. I used to get a paycheck and think about where I was going to spend the money. Now, it goes straight to savings without even a thought. Yes, you may have one income and the process may seem lengthy, but you will not get there without taking a chance! Cut out the spending, start saving, find a side hustle and start dreaming about all the things you can do.

free credit repair consultation

 

Making The Most Of Your Month│Cleaning Up Credit Card Debt

Leaving Credit Card Debt Behind

Credit Card debt is increasing for many American families. According to Experian, most family units with a bank card that consists of over $6,000 in debt. For many, this debt can be hard to manage! Do you keep asking yourself why your debts continue to pile up with little to no headway made month to month? 

One can only crunch numbers so many times over again. You may find that the numbers are rarely moving and potentially increasing without using the cards. Read more on 3 tips to help you get out of debt and manipulate your finances to make the most impact.

  1. Consider Your Budget

Start with being honest with yourself about spending. What can you cut back on the short term? Have you looked at how much you are nickel and diming yourself? It may come as a shock what you find is left over after you cut random spending out.  

List out all of your debts, balances, monthly funds, and due dates. Move money around that is strictly for bills only and the deadlines you have for each. Now, what is left? Is there any wiggle room? Decide what is most important next. 

If you enjoy apps on your phone, Mint now has a great updated app that tells you where you ended up overspending for the month. 

A great rule of thumb is to tackle the lowest credit card first and make a larger lump sum on your payment so that one gets paid down quickly. Once you see one balance start to deplete, the other cards may seem more manageable.  While the funds you had for "other" activities may be small, the thought of not having a cloud of debt following you around is much better!


credit repair


  1. Seasonal Job Searching

Also known as the side hustle. Although making a few extra hundred dollars a month may not seem like a lot when you are giving up your free time on evenings or weekends, having a seasonal job that is strict to work to pay the debt off quicker is absolutely worth it. When you have set yourself up on a tight budget and you start working a side job, the money will be a tool to accomplish your goals faster.

Don’t Cut Out all the Fun!

Paying bills is never the fun option however, the freedom from debt will be worth it in the end. If you have found after combing through your finances that you were spending way too much money at the movies or out to lunch, cut back enough to save but try not to completely eliminate everything you do. You may find if you allow for no fun, the budgeting will become harder for you and you will ditch the process in order to continue to live the life you were living. Moderation at this point in the process is key!

  1. Debt Consolidation or Debt Negotiation

You may find terms on the internet about debt consolidation or debt negotiation. There are many companies out there that can do one but not the other. Conduct plenty of research before getting into a company that is for debt consolidation vs debt negotiation. 

Debt consolidation typically means you're actually incurring more debt. The fact is, debt consolidation does not mean debt elimination. These companies are actually just restructuring the debt rather than wiping it away for you. 

If you are wanting to get rid of debt, the quickest way to do so is to delete the items. 

The flip side of this is debt negotiation. Credit Law Center has attorneys on staff that can help you through this process. This is where eliminating debt actually takes place! Negotiating debts down with the creditors you owe help you attain your goals more quickly than debt consolidation will. Remember that never-ending cycle of debt? It will just continue with debt consolidation. But, with debt negotiation, the end may be near!

Following any of these three options listed is a sure-fire way to start knocking down debt and potentially increasing your credit scores. 30% of your credit score is made up of the utilization on your credit cards. Therefore, if you have several accounts that are maxed out, you probably noticed your credit scores are significantly lower than they could be. In all reality, credit plays a major role in our day to day lives. If you find that you are in a place that you need financial or legal advice, please give Credit Law Center a call today 1-800-994-3070.

free credit repair consultation

Protecting Your Credit When Natural Disasters Hits

In recent weeks the United States has been hit with several natural disasters, leaving Americans uprooted from their homes and their employment. Texas and Florida are dealing with the aftermath of flood and rain waters from Hurricane Harvey and Hurricane Irma, while the Western United States is dealing with the complete opposite dry and extreme…

TOP 10 BLOGS 2018

CREDIT REPAIR2018 Top 10 Credit Repair Blogs


Thank you to all of our 2018 clients for giving us a fantastic year for Credit Law Center.  From our new facility to the thousands of lives we have made an impact on, we wanted to share what we learned last year in the same order that you liked the most.  So whether it be learning how to handle credit after the death of a loved one, handling collectors, understanding the myths that surround credit, or just understanding the mortgage process - we have you covered with our 2018’s most popular blogs written by our very own award-winning Credit Repair experts.  Be sure to check in with our Live Chat specialists to schedule your free credit repair consultation to see how quick, easy, and affordable credit repair can be with Credit Law Center!


CREDIT REPAIR CONSULTATION


 

  1. The Mortage Process

Our most popular blog of 2018 was this blog that addresses what to do to be “Mortgage Ready”.  Short and simple to the point, but however a few checklists here to make sure the largest purchase of our lives has us ready to take on the big decisions that go along with it.

   2. Debt Negotiation

Don’t worry, debt collectors fear Credit Law Center!  However, knowing your options when a debt collector comes after you.  This debt negotiation will walk you through your options.

   3. Credit Rating Matter?

Here is a very powerful piece of writing that will walk you through not only how important Credit Law Center’s clients are to us, but how credit ratings are different than character ratings.  This is important information to know as to when you are applying for credit, these credit ratings are important and the better you understand the better you can navigate through your next purchase.  Better credit, better life!

   4. After The Death Of A Loved One…

This being the most difficult credit issue to face, however important to know what to do after the death of a loved one.  Knowing what to do to make sure thieves are at bay, debt is reported accurately, and understanding the laws behind it all is what makes this blog one of our most popular sources of learning for our clients.

   5. Harassment From Debt Collectors

Even though you may have debt that you have agreed to pay at one time, but that does not mean the debt collectors get to abuse and ignore the laws that they are required to follow.  So before you hang up or avoid that next collection call, read the information here so you know your rights. Credit Law Center is on your side.


CREDIT REPAIR CONSULTATION


 

   6. Credit Myth On Divorce

Making the decision to end a marriage can profoundly affect lives and credit.  This article will walk you through the myths associated with credit and how the aftermaths divorces leave behind.  

   7. Credit Law Center Is Superior To All Other Credit Repair  Companies.

Yes, you read correctly.  This is probably our boldest claim, yet we have not found any evidence to other credit repair companies that have REAL attorneys that get REAL results, in as soon as 39 days, and with nothing to pay upfront.  Be sure to check out the graph on this blog that compares everything you need to know up front when deciding to sign up for credit repair.

8.  Credit Repair │ The Elephant In The Room

Throughout the years, there have been so many credit repair companies that took advantage of their clients, leaving a bad taste in their mouth the next time a real law firm that uses the law to delete negative items off credit reports.  Not to mention the personal anguish we go through when our credit scores are low and sometimes not everybody like to discuss openly about credit repair. Here is a great article that helps ease the conversation no matter who you want to share with.

9.  Credit Myth On Paying Collections

Our very own Jana Fox puts it perfectly on what happens when you pay a collection.  We all have a responsibility to pay our debt, however, we do what we have to do when things get tough - paying that collection isn't doing what you think it is doing to your credit report.

10.  Credit Myth On “It’s On The Credit Report, It Must Be True”

It is a fact that 80% of all credit reports contain errors.  Here is Jana Fox again setting the record straight on another myth of credit.  Great job Jana!


CREDIT REPAIR CONSULTATION