Entries by Credit Law Center

How Military Families Can Improve Their Credit

You Agreed To Give Access To Your Credit, Now What?

Lenders, Not The Only One Looking At Your Credit

Should You Freeze Your Credit?

How Are FICO Score Created?

Boost Your Credit Score With Credit Law Center

Experian Boost and UltraFICO:

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.

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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.  

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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!

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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. <