Credit Repair Blog

Credit Repair Blog - From the experts!

Follow our credit repair blog for the most up to date credit education, credit repair tips and financial news. Check out our latest testimonials and success stories and keep up to date on the changes that effect your credit score.

Here’s How 30% of Americans Are Putting Their Credit at Risk

Here’s How 30% of Americans Are Putting Their Credit at Risk

Say you have great credit. You usually pay off your credit card – or minimally have your debt-to-credit ratio at or below 30 percent. You’ve always paid your bills on time. You have solid credit history. So when you head in to the lender’s office to get pre-approved for your dream home, you shouldn’t have anything to worry about, right? You should be pre-approved no problem and ready to hit the trail house hunting. But then you get a rude awakening when you meet with the lender – your credit score isn’t in the excellent shape you thought it was, and it’s going to really limit your home buying status.

What the heck happened? For many Americans, the aforementioned scenario could have been prevented by just checking their credit report.

That’s right, mistakes happen. In fact, it’s estimated that up to 20 percent of all Americans have some sort of error on their credit report. It’s why most professionals suggest Americans check their credit reports at least once a year, as it’s really the only way to detect errors and then take the proper steps to dispute said errors so that your credit score can return to where it should be.

Common Credit Report Errors

A WalletHub study estimates that as many as 37 percent of all Americans haven’t checked their credit report in over a year, and that 16 percent of all Americans have never checked their credit report. That’s not good, as the credit bureaus allow consumers to pull it for free once a year. Why not take advantage of the opportunity? Failure to do so could cause you to miss detecting significant errors, such as:

  • Mix ups: It’s not uncommon for the credit reporting bureaus to mix up information for consumers that share the same surname. So, for instance, if your name is Joe Smith and Mike Smith from California defaulted on an auto loan, there’s the off chance that your surnames could cause confusion when this information is reported.
  • Incorrect data: Sometimes, lenders or banks just make mistakes and report incorrect data about your history to the bureaus. These can usually be easily corrected by just showing documentation of your loan or account status.
  • Duplicates: Another common error is for the same account to be listed twice on your credit report. The biggest issue related with this mistake is that it will likely impact your credit utilization, or the debt-to-credit ratio. Like we mentioned in the opening, if this ratio is at or less than 30 percent, then you’re likely to have a higher credit score. Consumers that utilize more of their allotted debt-to-credit ratio will likely have a lower credit score.

Disputing Errors

As soon as you notice an error on your credit report, take action to dispute it. Disputes can either be carried out with the credit bureau or with the lender/bank involved that reported the information to the bureau. Simply gather documentation supporting your dispute and submit it to the respective party. By law, you will receive a response within 30 days from the time the party receives it. This response will confirm removal of the incorrect information, insist that they’re correct or ask for more information.

 

Meta Title: Checked Your Credit Report Lately? Your Borrowing Power May be At Risk

Meta Keywords: credit report, credit score, debt, credit utilization, credit card, mortgage loan, auto loan, credit bureau, credit repair

Meta Description: When was the last time you checked your credit report? You should be checking it at least once a year to verify that there are no errors that could impact your borrowing power. More here:

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Fannie Mae Deepens Credit History Checking

Fannie Mae Deepens Credit History Checking

Like most Americans, you’ve accrued some credit card debt. You’re paying it off, but mostly sticking to just making the minimum payments so that you’re able to meet your other financial obligations. No big deal, right? Sure, you’ll pay more in the long haul because of interest, but credit card companies set minimum payments for a reason and you’re still making your monthly payments on time. Noting all of this, and considering that your credit score is in pretty good shape, you figure now is the time to apply for that home loan. Surely you’ll be approved, right?

Not so fast.

Fannie Mae, the entity responsible for the issuing of government mortgage loans, is digging deeper into the credit history of applicants beyond just their credit report and credit score. That’s right, Fannie Mae is now taking into consideration how applicants are managing their debt as it pertains to approving or denying mortgage loans.

Trended Credit Data

The latest version of Fannie Mae’s underwriter software is designed to more carefully analyze what it refers to as “trended credit data,” or details about how consumers are specifically managing their debt. Instead of just analyzing whether or not consumers are making their payments on time, the new software version also takes into consideration the following:

  • How much consumers are paying monthly toward balances.
  • The frequency that they are making their payments.
  • Their ability to properly manage debt overall.

For instance, consumers just making the minimum payments on their credit cards aren’t going to be seen as favorably as consumers making more significant payments toward debts or consumers that pay off credit cards each month. This new judging system, in turn, could prevent mortgage applicants from being able to buy a home. Arguably most alarming about these new standards is that Fannie Mae offers government-backed home loans to help make housing more affordable for low- to middle-income Americans. Chances are it’s these low- to middle-income Americans that have these types of debt repayment practices.

This is still in the early phases of rollout and unlikely to take effect immediately. However, Fannie Mae’s new standards may become routine before too long. It could even snowball so that other lenders judge consumers similarly, which could really make things difficult for Americans.

Navigating Fannie Mae

So how can you work around Fannie Mae’s more in-depth consumer considerations if you don’t qualify for a conventional mortgage? It’s all about enacting a viable credit repair plan. To show that even if you have a balance, you’re doing your best to eliminate it from your credit report. Here’s a look at some tips for how to eliminate debt and improve your consumer status:

  • Pay off high interest cards first.
  • Contact lenders to see if they’ll give you a lower interest rate.
  • Consider debt consolidation so that you’re only paying off one balance as opposed to several balances.
  • Only spend what you know you can immediately pay off to avoid accruing more debt.
  • Stay disciplined.
  • Come up with a plan: In addition to a base budget, consider putting any additional income (i.e. performance bonuses, tax refunds, cash back rewards, etc.) toward debt repayment.

 

Posted in: Buyer Tips, Credit Repair, Finance News, Hot Credit & Financial news

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Should You Ever Pay for Your FICO Credit Score?

Should You Ever Pay for Your FICO Credit Score?

A crucial aspect of knowing whether or not you’re in need of credit repair is obviously learning what your actual credit score is. After all, those crucial three digits are what lenders look at when deciding how at-risk of a consumer you are and whether or not your application should be approved or denied on everything from mortgage loans to auto loans to student loans. But how consumers attain this credit score information is a topic that has always been up for debate.

The aspect of how to attain credit scores recently made headlines again, as two of the leading credit reporting agencies in the United States were fined for allegedly charging consumers to check their credit scores – a practice viewed as unethical and misleading by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. In light of these recent events, the question remains: Should consumers pay for their FICO scores? Or should they rely on free avenues for attaining this crucial data?

Where to Get Free FICO Scores

Most experts advise consumers to check their credit scores and credit reports at least once a year. This is suggested even for consumers with very good credit, as checking such information annually can help detect potential errors and lead to quicker all-around fixes. Federal law permits consumers to attain credit reports free of charge from the three main credit reporting agencies once a year. Consumers that are looking to repair credit to make themselves more attractive on a loan or credit card application, however, may need to check their scores more frequently than annually to judge where they stand. The good news is that more and more outlets are making it easier to do this on a complimentary basis.

Here’s a look at some of these free avenues available for checking your credit score:

  • Your bank or credit union: Many financial institutions will offer free credit score checks for members. Some may even offer complimentary consulting services to help consumers reach their credit score goals.
  • Your credit card company: Credit card companies like Discover now offer free credit scores to both cardholders and non-cardholders. Citi and Chase have similar policies. Others may provide your credit score if you simply ask.
  • Websites: If you go the route of getting your credit score through a website, it’s important to make sure that the site is a credible one (i.e. CreditKarma) and that you aren’t supplying your credit card information for the service. Credible credit reporting websites will help provide you regular credit score updates, as well as provide guidance on potential purchases based on your score.
  • Applications: Applying for a new credit card, car loan, or refinancing? As part of the approval process, the lender will be surely checking your credit score to make sure you qualify. Take advantage of this situation to learn what your credit score is.

 

We should note that you can buy your credit score. However, you should only ever consider doing so when you’ve either exhausted the options that we’ve listed above or if none of the aforementioned complimentary means of acquisition are viable.

Posted in: Buyer Tips, Credit Repair, Credit Scoring Model, Hot Credit & Financial news

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Top 5 Questions To Ask When Hiring a Credit Repair Company

Top 5 Questions To Ask When Hiring a Credit Repair Company

Top 5 Questions – Hiring A Credit Repair Company

by Nikitas Tsoukalis, CEO

Key Credit Repair

Hiring a credit repair company is not something that should be taken lightly. I’ve been following the hashtag #creditrepair on twitter and facebook the last few months and I’m shocked at what I’m seeing. People are “spilling their guts” on different forums online and then a “so-called” credit guru will troll into the chat and tell them to call their cell phone to get some information. These internet trolls are parading around the net and soliciting people to sign up and pay them thousands of dollars with zero credentials. They typically throw out an offer like “GET EVERYTHING DELETED in 24 HOURS” and desperate consumers facing a hardship will fall into this trap. A desperate consumer will beg, borrow and steal to scrape together the money to take advantage of one of these “WISH” offers and when all is said and done they’ve gotten zero help. In many of these cases the “guru” has taken thousands of dollars  up-front and then disapears. This can all be avoided by asking a few simple questions when shopping for credit repair services. Let me outline for you…

p.s. I have more great questions you can ask. This is just a snippet of my top 5:)

Do you charge your fee(s) up-front? 

If the company charged a one-time flat fee up front you are in trouble. That company is in violation of the Credit Repair Organizations Act. Regardless of what state they are operating in they cannot charge a fee up-front. In fact, this goes against any common sense strategy. If you hire someone to build you a house, are you pre-paying for that entire house before they break ground? No way. You will be paying as the work is being completed in phases. Common sense here my friends!!!

How many items are you working on at once? 

If the answer is 5 items each month or one bureau at a time or quite simply anything less than UNLIMITED you are getting taken for a ride. Sorry my friends. You are a consumer. If there is something questionable on your credit you have the right to challenge that record TODAY. Not tomorrow or three months from now. If the credit repair company you are working with has told you they limit the # of accounts they work on than they are not a credit repair company. They are operating a “Gym Membership” system. You pay each month(in most cases a price that is inexpensive enough that you forget you are paying) and you find yourself in a credit repair program for years and years sending out a few letters each month. Sort of like a gym membership. Nobody is losing weight. But thousands of people paying. You need your credit repaired, correct? Make sure the service is unlimited!

How can I track my progress? 

A reputable credit repair company will give you FULL access to the work they are doing. They will give you a secure online portal that will allow you to track your progress online. Simple? Well not always. If a company is not up to speed with this they may not be up to speed with the security of your personal information as well. Run, don’t walk!

Who owns your company? 

Strange question but I’m old-fashioned when it comes to my money. I want to know when I hire anyone for anything that the owner is in the trenches with their employees and working on my behalf. When a company hides behind fancy marketing ads I won’t do business with them. I want to see that someone is willing to put their “NAME” on the line for me. I want to see their resume and their credentials. Remember, we are not doing business with software and websites. Those are simply tools for convenience. There is always someone behind the scenes and if they are not willing to show their face than they are not getting my hard earned money.

Will you let me enroll before a consultation? 

This is my favorite trick question. So, you find a really cool “Credit Repair Site”. It’s got a catchy slogan and fancy images and their is even a place that you can sign up online RIGHT THERE!! Holy moly this easy. STOP! Stop right there. Easy does not = Better or even good with credit repair. Here in the 21st century your credit is the most important financial tool. I would advocate to say it’s more important than your income or even the cash you have in your pocket. With that said you should never just sign up online. If you want to win in life you need a strategy. Whether it’s a diet, fitness or financial goals, planning is always step #1. If someone is not willing to spend 30 minutes on the phone with you to come up with a game plan to get your credit back up and above par than you have nothing but a….. “A goal without a plan is just a wish”. – Antoine de Saint-Exupry 

Credit Repair Goals

If you are going to shop around for a credit repair service ask these top 5 questions. Also, make sure you get 3 action plans. Compare the action plans, and always make sure that the action plan is not generic. It needs to be custom and based on a 3-in-1 credit report. The action plan should detail how they will clean up negative records, build-up positive activity and how to deal with bad debts(CLEAN-UP, BUILD-UP & PAY-UP). Also, there should be a goal-setting session where the consultant has asked you “what are your goals with better credit?”. The consultant should be knowledgable enough to align the plan with the the difference between where your scores are today and where they need to be. If you have a median credit score of 540 and you need a 640 to buy a house than the consultant will need to clearly define how you will get those 100+ points. If they cannot do that you are wasting your time and money.

Need help repairing your credit? Ready to ask all the right questions? Call our team at 877.842.5215.

Nikitas Tsoukalis, CEO/Owner/Consultant/DAD

NTsoukalis@keycreditrepair.com

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Mortgages That Require a Zero Down Payment

Mortgages That Require a Zero Down Payment

One of the main prohibiting factors from more people being able to buy homes is the issue of the down payment. Yes, even if a consumer has a terrific credit score, a good job that would provide the income necessary to make monthly mortgage payments and the desire to be a homeowner, there’s that all-important issue of the down payment. Putting 20 percent down, as is the case with a conventional mortgage, isn’t feasible for many buyers – and even low down payment options, such as the 3.5 percent that’s the minimum requirement with FHA loans, can be a stretch for cash-strapped consumers.

The good news is that more and more lenders are taking note of these challenges that many consumers face, especially when trying to acquire property in expensive housing areas such as San Francisco, for instance. This post is designed to take a look at some of these zero-down and minimal down payment options that are now available.

Zero Down Payment Mortgages

Perhaps the most common zero-down mortgage is none other than the VA loan. However, the big difference between this type of home loan and others on this list is that in order to qualify for it, you have to either be a veteran or an active-duty service member. VA loan qualifiers will, however, have to pay a funding fee, usually of anywhere from 1.5 to 3.3 percent, which can be rolled into the loan itself. Another popular zero-down military loan is that of which is offered by Navy Federal. However, unlike VA loans, Navy Federal’s funding fee is lower at a constant 1.75 percent.

Here’s a look at some other zero-down home loans:

  • USDA Rural Development Mortgage: As the name implies, the zero-down loan is applicable to buyers that are purchasing qualified properties. But unlike what many may think, these areas that qualify aren’t all considered textbook “rural.” In lieu of a down payment, USDA Rural Development loans require an upfront 2 percent loan guarantee fee and a 0.5 percent annual fee that’s based on the current loan balance. Both can be rolled into the mortgage. One other thing to note about this loan, however, is that it is very popular and funds dedicated to it are known to be depleted well before the end of the year.
  • San Francisco Federal Credit Union POPPYLOAN: Announced in December of 2015, this geographically-specific offering from the San Francisco Federal Credit Union offers zero-down financing on home loans up to $2 million as a means of helping qualified buyers navigate the expensive Bay Area real estate market. In order the qualify for these POPPYLOANs, San Francisco-area buyers must be at least 18 year old and be purchasing a single-family home or condo, or a multi-family home that is intended to serve as their primary residence.
  • BBVA Compass: In February of 2015, BBVA Compass launched its HOME zero-down loan option. HOME, which stands for “home ownership made easier,” is offered only on properties that are in low- to medium-income areas, per Census designation. The HOME loans will also help buyers cover up to $4,500 of their closing costs.
  • NASA Federal Credit Union: NASA Federal Credit Union also offers a zero-down, fixed-rate mortgage that doesn’t require the purchase of private mortgage insurance. It’s available to qualified buyers on either a new home purchase or a refinance on mortgages up to $650,000.

Minimal Down Payment Mortgages

As we noted in the opening, homeownership isn’t so much about what your down payment is – but whether or not you can make the monthly mortgage payments over the course of the 15- or 30-year loan term. But for those that want to put some sort of amount down – even if it is minimal – there are low down payment options available. And several of these options are much less than the 3.5 percent minimum required with an FHA loan and the 3 percent down payments that many other lenders have begun to offer. Here’s a look:

  • Guaranteed Rate: As of July 2016, Guaranteed Rate offers loans with 1 percent down payments to nationwide consumers. The specific mortgage program is known as “Double Match,” and in order to qualify for the program, buyers need to have at least a 680 FICO score and be purchasing a home that is $417,000 or less.
  • Quicken Loans: In late 2015, Quicken Loans debuted a 1 percent down payment mortgage of its own for consumers buying homes (no refinances). To qualify, consumers must hold a credit score of at least 680 and have a debt-to-income ratio of 45 percent or less.
  • United Wholesale Mortgage: Around the same time that Guaranteed Rate introduced its Double Match 1 percent down mortgage, United Wholesale Mortgage came out with a low down payment option of its own. Dubbed an alternative to the 3 percent low down payment mortgages that are becoming increasingly popular, the buyer is only on the hook for a 1 percent down payment, while the lender will pay 2 percent, thereby giving buyers 3 percent equity come closing. To qualify, consumers must have at least a 700 FICO score and a debt-to-income ratio of no greater than 43 percent.

Posted in: Buyer Tips, Credit Repair, Hot Credit & Financial news, Tools & Tips

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