Archive for foreclosures

Knocking down Obstacles in the Loan Application Process. Part 1

Posted in For Buyers, Real Estate Advice with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on July 21, 2009 by realtordebbie

No Credit My,.... So you think buying a home is easy these days?  For some, it may be, for most people however there are “glitches.” No one like “glitches,” but these days we stumble into more than ever before.  Believe me when I say, no one is perfect. Even the most savvy real estate investor has obstacles that prevent the smooth transactions we grew accustomed to in years past.

Preparing to buy a home involves more than making up  your mind that you want to move. There are certain steps of preparation that you must follow. The first and biggest obstacle that I run into with my customers is CREDIT ISSUES. Either Bad Credit, No credit, or someone else’s credit..on your credit report! Yes, it happens.

There will be some followup to this BLOG, but for now let’s get the credit issues our of the way. Let’s knock out a few credit score questions and answers.

What is a credit Score?

Good grades come from having done positive things, bad grades subtract points from your grade. Most scores range between 300 – 900 points, the higher is the better grade. A credit score is used to qualify you for loans. If you fall below 630 these days, it will will be a challenge to get your qualified. Lenders will delve into your credit scores, using the scores from three major reporting agencies, and sometimes one national agency. If you are monitoring your credit.. check all 3! The nuts and bolts is this:

What affects your Credit Positively?

  • Paying your bills on time and in full.
  • Having one or two credit cards used on occasion and paid each month.
  • The typical rule of thumb is to use 25 percent or less of your available credit. Ideally, carry a balance of no more than $2,500 if your credit limit is $10,000.
  • Steady employment. People who are steadily employed are viewed as being better able to pay their bills on time.
  • If you are self-employed, pay yourself a documented salary!

What damages your Credit Score:

  • Missing of Making Late Payments.
  • Using more than 80 percent of your total amount of available credit
  • Bankruptcy
  • Liens or foreclosures
  • Periods of unemployment
  • Repeated, multiple requests for new lines of credit ( i.e. store credit card applications will KILL your credit! Don’t do it to save 10%!)

The Major Factors that affect your credit score:

  • Your payment history. Are you paying on time? This is one of the biggest factors that lenders look at.
  • Your outstanding debt. Your debt to income levels are critical, your ability to pay back small sums is manageable, large balances are very difficult to manage.
  • How long have you been building credit. The longer your credit history, the higher your credit rating.
  • The number of inquiries on your credit report. The more times you’ve applied for credit cards or loans, the more credit report inquiries will show up on your credit report. When in trouble, in the fine print, your creditors can pull your credit when you are late, when you apply for loan extensions or modifications. This can kill your score because it indicates you are having trouble managing your debts.

What to do when you see a “cheater” on your credit report.

Sometimes there are debts on your credit report that do not belong to you. This happened recently to my 19 year old borrower as he discovered that his father had been using his social security number and had taken out credit cards in his name. They were good pays,.. but they were NOT his, in fact most were taken out when the 19 year old was 9 and 10 years old! Can someone say, “Credit card FRAUD?” Do us all a favor, report credit card fraud, let the credit companies investigate and prosecute those who committed the crime.  If you are one of those stealing from your kids.. thinking you won’t ever get caught… Think  Again!

Credit card fraud is on the rise. Access to social security numbers, telephone numbers, dates of birth are too easy to find, not to mention accessibility to your mailbox which is full of the “sign here” offers that can be stolen in a flash. Use a identity theft service. It’s the cheapest, best insurance you can own, and these days you need it!

CreditReport.com reports that the average credit score of Americans is “in the neighborhood of 680,..” and that, “while consumers have more debt than the year prior, and a quarter of the country has more debt than the national average – apparently we manage debt fairly well, as our average credit score is hanging in there.”

So, while you may look at your credit card debt and shriek,.. look at your score, do a little housecleaning once a year and relax.

Part II….Exercise Your Right To Choose the Right Lender!

Just Looking Back For A Moment

Posted in Debbie Kirkland, Habitat For Humanity, Random, recreation, Tallahassee with tags , , , , , , , on June 23, 2009 by realtordebbie

I’m not sure why I’m reminiscing more this week than in times past. I’m exhausted, and it’s only Tuesday.  Perhaps it’s the 100+ degree temperatures we have been having in Tallahassee.. or possibly related to the first day off I had on Sunday, the first in more than about 6 months.  I spent that day with my folks,..floating in the pool in the home where I was raised. For the first time in a very long time, I put business down for a day, and I was as relaxed as I was when I was a child.

Home

Home

I had a few thoughts that I just needed to spill. As far back as I can remember, I have had a roof over my head. My father had a job, my mom made dinner at night and my sisters and I played in a yard,…every day.  I don’t remember hearing about famine, about unemployment, about the threat of socialism or foreclosures being on the rise. I don’t remember a time when there was a need in my not-so-long-ago rural community, that families did not gather to “tend” to those in need.

As far back as I can remember, people had work to do, suppose that’s why I dont mind it or even think about the hours I put in as a single mom. I was raised in a middle class.. or what would now be considered lower middle class family I suppose. Plain and simple, everyone I was exposed to had a work ethic and a sense of moral dignity and community. Times may have been “tight,” but there was food on my table. (Much of it home-grown or given to us in trade for work my dad may have done for someone. I’ve put up more peas and corn than most have seen!)

When I look around today, I see a different society. Kids don’t play outside much anymore..they don’t build forts in the woods and they are never out of their parent’s watchful eyes. Father’s and mothers both work, and spend much of their time involved in costly night-time activities that are deemed “necessary” for physical and emotional development. I see the elderly shoved into homes because they have no families to care for them or either the children are fighting over who must “take on the job” of caring for them.

I’m not feeling very sorry right now for a few people I know who are using up their sick time before they loose it.. or complaining about kids driving them crazy whining and complaining.  I think we’ve done a few things wrong along the way, plain and simple. Perhaps it’s not so bad to look back once in a while.. to sit and reminisce with the old folks, or to even look back to where we were a few decades ago.

The Tallahassee Board of Realtors is starting another Habitat For Humanity House in the fall. My pledge is $100 for each closing I have and to work on our build days. I can’t think of anywhere else I’d rather be really. Every home-owner of these houses that I have met, has been hard-working, many raising their own children, grandchildren or someone else’s children. It takes a village, it means a home. I think most of us “get-it” now that this could be any one of us. What we don’t know is who would be there if we fell.

These may very well be “the good times.” These may be the times we gain control of our lives and reach out to those around us once again. Sure  makes you think, huh. Today, I’m simply grateful for the 100 hour work week and the homemade blackberry jelly my friend Jay dropped off  last week. Time to return a favor.