Credit What??

Come on, shout it out! What’s your score? Don’t know? Let me tell you why you should, how it could be costing you money, what to do about it and so on.

In this crazy world of identity theft and online everything, one would think we all pay attention to our credit score. But, I’m here to tell you that most people don’t. And it is costing a lot of them a small fortune – and putting a big ole damper on their home-ownership dreams. Not only that, a poor credit score costs you thousands by way of higher auto insurance and interest payments!  I have a really cute home here in a really nice city neighborhood in Saginaw for sale at $69,000. When I started my FB advertising, I literally had more than 100 people respond within days. I have showed this home a good 30 times (Because I semi pre-qualified over the phone). I have yet to find a buyer with a credit score higher than 580. And most of them it seems, are working folk who simply don’t understand what a credit score is, how various things affect it, and how to make it better. Oddly enough, not being in debt is not the key to a high credit score!

I interviewed Doug D’Angelo, of Lake Michigan Credit Union recently for some simple facts and tips about credit scores. He has been a great resource to me over the years, working to assist buyers achieve their home-ownership dreams. Here are a few tips:

  • Pay your bills on time – even a few days late makes a difference; not only with your credit score but the interest you’re paying.
  • pay off any collections and judgments; they have a large impact.
  • Keep your balance below 30% of the credit limit (but not at a zero) for the optimal credit score help.
  • Minimize outstanding debt, but having a solid 3 sources reporting is best (auto, credit card) But again, keep your sources of debt at or below that 30%.
  • Avoid overextending your self. Lenders don’t like to see that 50% of you income is going to pay off your debts
  • AFTER BANKRUPTCY or Foreclosure….
  • The quickest you can apply for a mortgage after filing Chapter 7 is two years from the date of discharge.
  • The quickest after Chapter 13 is after 1 year of payments made by the trustee with ZERO LATE payments

I have found keeping a good old fashioned budget book works the best for me. Log in what your expected income is each week and plug in where all your bills are due, so that when you get your paycheck, you already know what bills you need to pay. If possible, set your bills up for online payment with your bank. I don’t like to do that with each individual creditor, as I don’t have control in case of an emergency but I have all my credit reporting bills set up for an auto payment with my personal bank online. This allows me to schedule them monthly and change the amount I’m paying, right up to the day before it is paid. 

I am amazed each and every day at how many people would like to own a home and can even afford one; but their dreams are dashed because of credit score. You know how you always say, “Time flies”? Well, it does; so get to work on your credit and before you know it – you can call me and say, “Monique find me my dream home!!” …. and I’ll get right on it! 

For those of you with excellent credit scores – Congratulations! and maybe you’d like to comment about how you like to organize and stay ahead of the game. Anyone who would like some specific information about their credit is welcome to call me. If you aren’t able to get yourself a home for Christmas this year – I’m sure with a little diligence, we can get you one for the next! Have an awesome day and remember I love referrals too.

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