Julie Sagan®'s Blog
What do buying a house, opening a credit card, and getting approved for an auto loan have in common? They all depend on your credit score.
Building credit is a multifaceted undertaking. In a way, this is a good thing--you wouldn’t want lenders to base their opinions solely on one aspect of your financial history. The downside is that understanding just what makes up your credit score can be difficult.
To complicate matters further, there isn’t one standard method for scoring your credit, and different credit bureaus each use their own criteria.
In this article, we’re going to talk about some of the factors the major credit bureaus use to calculate your credit, and give you some ways you can boost your credit.
But first, let’s talk about some of the implications of having a good credit score.
Why credit matters
Typical credit scores range anywhere from 250 to 850. The three main reporting agencies (Equifax, TransUnion, and Experian). Most lenders use a combination of those scores that is reported by FICO.
Most credit reports will rank your category from “bad” to “excellent.” Here’s an example of what a credit ranking might look like:
Good: 700 - 749
Fair: 650 - 659
Poor: 550 - 649
U.S. legislation makes it possible for Americans to receive a free report of their credit score and to challenge and correct the score if it contains inaccuracies.
If you’re thinking about buying a house, opening a new line of credit, or taking out a loan of some kind, then the provider will likely run your credit score. Those providers are going to want to see a return on their investment, so they’ll charge interest.
If you have a high credit score, it tells the lenders that you are a low-risk investment, and therefore they can offer you a lower interest rate, saving you money in the long run.
Components of a credit score
There are five main factors that credit bureaus take into consideration when formulating your credit score. Not all of the factors are treated equally. Your ability to pay your bills on time, for example, is considered to be more important than the types of bills you have. Here’s a breakdown of the five components that make up a credit score:
35% - Bill and loan payments
30% - Current total amount of debt
15% - Amount of time you’ve had credit (since you took out your first loan or opened your first credit card)
10% - Types of credit (cards, loans, etc.)
10 % - New credit inquiries
Quick tips for building credit
It takes time to build credit and improve your score. So, if you’re hoping to buy a home within the next few years, now is the time to start working on your credit. Here are some best practices for building credit:
Set up autopay for your bills to avoid late payments. Even if the service doesn’t offer autopay, you can likely set up recurring payments through your bank.
Settle outstanding debt. Avoiding debt that you can’t pay off will only hurt you more in the long run. Call your creditor and see if they offer debt relief programs. More likely than not they’d rather work with you to ensure they receive some repayment rather than none at all.
Start budgeting the right way. New budgeting software like Mint and “You Need a Budget” are easy to use and link up with your accounts. They’ll help you monitor your spending and start paying off debt.
Don’t open new lines of credit close to when you want to take out a loan. New credit inquiries can briefly lower your credit, especially if you make more than one. Viewing your free credit reports doesn’t count as an inquiry, so feel free to do that as often as needed to check your progress.
Get credit for bills you’re already paying. You can report your monthly rent payments, switch bills into your name that you contribute to, or take out a credit builder loan. All three will help you build rent without changing your spending habits.
There’s many theories about when the best time of year to buy a home is. It’s spring, right? Not necessarily. Spring is one of the busiest times of the year for real estate but it’s not always the best time of year to buy a home. The emphasis on home buying in spring tends to be rooted in the fact that spring is associated with all things “new.” However, these misperceptions about the housing market can be detrimental to homebuyers.
Spring And Summer Are Top Times To Sell
Many people get the urge to sell their properties in the spring and summer simply because they get new perspective after being cooped up in the house all winter long. People are ready for a change after the long winter. Moving close to the summertime works well with traditional school calendars. For some people, selling in the warmer months of the year is the best time, but it doesn’t hold true for everyone.
Others suggest that the best time to sell a home is in fall or winter. People who are looking to buy in the end of the year are often buying for a purpose. Their need to move is much greater. It could be due to family issues, home repair needs or other crucial factors, but these buyers are motivated. On the flip side, there’s less homes to look at since inventory tends to be lower at this time of the year.
In the spring, while many people are looking, their need to buy is much less urgent, so the demand is less. There’s a potential for more competition in the spring if you are a serious buyer just because of the high volume of shoppers.
Remember one key fact: spring starts in January when we talk about real estate! The number of listings will continue to ramp up until about mid-May. Buyers will be looking throughout the summer months. Then, the number of buyers starts to drop off in September.
The Bottom Line
There is really no “right” time to buy or sell real estate. The right time has to do with what works best for you. If you’re starting your search, it’s best to begin in the spring, but you may very well land the best deal in the fall when there’s less competition. When you start a serious home search, you get a better idea of what you want. You also don’t want to let the perfect house pass you by because you were waiting for “just the right time.”
Some Additional Tips:
- Avoid Closing Around Christmastime
- Know Your Moving Timetable
- Consider How Long It May Take You To Find A Home
- Remember That Closings Take At Least 30 Days
Whenever you buy a home, choosing a knowledgeable real estate agent can help you to close a great deal on your home whether you’re buying or selling. By planning ahead, the process will go much smoother.
- Cost-effective advertising: While cheap classified ads can help draw a bevy of eager bargain hunters to your home, you can also get a lot of mileage out of free forms of advertising. Garage sale signs, which can be purchased cheaply at any hardware store, can attract dozens of potential customers. In addition to posting a sign directly in from of your house, other good spots are nearby intersections and street corners. Handmade signs can sometimes work, but they have to legible, easy to read, and rigid enough to resist wind and moisture. Other free methods of advertising include flyers, posting announcements on social media, and taking out free ads on Craigslist.
- Preparation and presentation: When the day of your garage sale arrives, you need to be organized, prepared, and ready to welcome your first customers early in the morning. Publicizing the hours of your sales event is a necessary part of the planning process, but don't be surprised if you see a few cars starting to pull up before you've finished carrying all your items out to your driveway. Garage sales always attract hard-core bargain hunters who do not want to miss a single item. In all likelihood, the first few hours will be the busiest, and attendance will probably drop off in the afternoon. As far as preparation, getting all your items set aside and labeled (priced) the night before will help avoid last-minute stress, awkward delays in getting started, lost sales, and impatient customers. Display tables are optional, but will make it easier for people to browse your sale items.
- Time investment: While some families devote the entire day -- or even the whole weekend -- to their garage sale, others limit the event to four hours on a Saturday or Sunday morning. A lot depends on your patience, how fast your items get sold, and whether you have any plans for the afternoon. At a certain point, you'll start noticing diminishing returns on your time, so you might decide to wrap things up and count your money around noon.
Purchasing a condo should be fast and easy. However, negotiations with a condo seller can quickly become stressful and may put your chances to acquire your dream condo in danger.
Lucky for you, we're here to help you simplify the process of negotiating with a condo seller to ensure you can purchase your ideal property.
Here are three tips to help you navigate tough negotiations with a condo seller.
1. Consider the Condo Seller's Perspective
Think about the condo seller's perspective and try to find common ground with this individual. By doing so, you and the condo seller may be able to agree to terms that meet the needs of both sides.
When you initially submit an offer on a condo, ensure your proposal accounts for the condo's condition and the current state of the real estate market. That way, you'll be able to avoid the risk of submitting a "lowball" offer that falls below a condo seller's expectations.
Also, maintain open lines of communication throughout the negotiation process. This will allow you to listen to a condo seller's concerns and respond accordingly.
2. Collect Plenty of Housing Market Data
If a condo seller believes you are unwilling to pay a sufficient price for his or her condo, it is always a good idea to present housing market data to back up your offer.
Explore the housing market closely to learn about the prices of comparable condos in nearby cities and towns. This will allow you to see how a particular condo stacks up against similar properties in terms of price and condition.
In addition, check out the prices of recently sold condos in your area to identify housing market patterns and trends. With this real estate market information at your disposal, you'll be able to make an informed decision about whether to continue to negotiate with a condo seller or consider other properties.
3. Collaborate with a Real Estate Agent
A real estate agent will negotiate with a condo seller on your behalf. Therefore, he or she will help you minimize the stress and anxiety that is commonly associated with condo negotiations.
Typically, a real estate agent will submit an offer on a condo and wait to hear back from a condo seller. If a condo seller decides to negotiate, a real estate agent will work with you throughout the negotiation process.
A real estate agent will listen to your condo buying concerns and questions and respond immediately. He or she also will provide honest, unbiased recommendations to help you make informed decisions during negotiations with a condo seller. This real estate professional will even share your concerns with a condo seller to help you get the best results possible.
When it comes to a negotiating with a condo seller, there is no need to worry. If you collaborate with a real estate agent, you can take the guesswork out of condo negotiations. And ultimately, you may be able to move one step closer to buying a condo that meets or exceeds your expectations.