Archive for November, 2007

a “do it yourself” guide for fixing your credit

November 9, 2007

In an earlier post, I mentioned some common myths associated with “credit repair” companies. The companies claim they can fix and improve your credit score. For details on how accurate those statements are, see my previous post.

As always, your credit score is important when buying a home, car, getting a credit card, etc. While mathematicians diligently work to crack the code used by the major credit bureaus when creating your credit score, the steps below are things you can do on your own to improve your score and even remove inaccurate negative marks on your report.

beautiful-mind.jpg

First, you need to obtain a copy of your credit report. The Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act allows you to obtain a copy of your report (free of charge) once every 12 months from each of the three main credit bureaus (Equifax, Experian, and Trans Union). This information will only contain your credit history. If you want the actual score, you will have to pay for it.

Note — Be wary of “free credit report” sites as your report is often “free” if you sign up for a service that is not free. For a truly free credit report, go to here. I have been through this process myself. It takes a couple of steps, but it is free.

Next, review your report and make a note of all your open/active revolving credit accounts — credit cards. You always want to keep the balance less than half of the available credit limit. Once you pass the halfway point, your credit score begins to go down. For instance, if you have a credit limit on a Visa card at $5,000, if possible, never have a balance of $2,500 or more. This is the quickest and easiest way to help improve your score.

As you review the report, remember that any accurately reported negative marks cannot be removed. Make a list of anything that is questionable, and the reason why you want to dispute it in order to write a dispute letter.

How to write a dispute letter:

— When writing your letter, be as specific as possible. As far as formatting and where to send the letter, each credit bureau has information for letter submission, forms to use, and their mailing address. You can even dispute online.

— for Trans Union

— for Equifax

— for Experian

— Send your letters by registered or certified mail. This lets you know when your letter was delivered and puts the credit bureaus on the clock. They must respond to you within 30 days of receiving your dispute letter.

— Wait… While waiting, be sure to keep the original credit report, copies of the letters you mailed, and all letters you receive from the credit bureaus.

— Once you receive a response from the investigation, compare your new credit report with your original report to see what has been removed.

And finally, try not to keep checking your credit. Checking your credit multiple times in a short time span can actually hurt your credit score.

If you want more detailed information, the Federal Trade Commission is very helpful. They give detailed step-by-step information and a sample dispute letter. You will need to scroll down on the page until you see “STEP ONE”.

Clay Jeffreys is a Mortgage Consultant with Hillside Lending, LLC and writer for “Blog Pertaining to the Acquisition of a Mortgage to Purchase a Domicile.” Hillside Lending seeks to provide mortgage brokerage services with the highest standards of service, care, honesty, integrity and value; concentrating on owner-occupied, residential financing. For more information about available programs and interest rates, please visit www.hillsidelending.com.

Advertisements

The truth about the current “housing crisis”

November 6, 2007

Check out the blog on the current state of the housing/mortgage industry by Gregg Easterbrook. The section is titled “Housing problems genuine, Sense of crisis phony“. I couldn’t have said this better myself.

Gregg Easterbrook is a contributing editor for The New Republic, The Atlantic Monthly and The Washington Monthly. He also writes Tuesday Morning QB, which can be found by using the TMQ link in the right column under “other favorite sites.”

Another rate cut.

November 1, 2007

Yesterday, the Fed’s announced a cut in the Federal Funding rate by 0.25%. Remember, usually, when the Fed Funds rate goes DOWN, mortgage rates go UP and vice versa . . . look for mortgage rates to go up for now. Friday’s job’s report may give the bond market a little more direction for the coming weeks.

For a brief idea of what this move will and will NOT do to mortgage rates, check out a recent post from The Mortgage Blog by a co-worker of mine. Also, the AJC has a great article about the Feds move.

Clay Jeffreys is a Mortgage Consultant with Hillside Lending, LLC and writer for “Blog Pertaining to the Acquisition of a Mortgage to Purchase a Domicile.”  Hillside Lending seeks to provide mortgage brokerage services with the highest standards of service, care, honesty, integrity and value; concentrating on owner-occupied, residential financing.  For more information about available programs and interest rates, please visit www.hillsidelending.com.