Eddie Hoskins - Hoskins Realty, Inc | 508-317-6045 | ed@hoskinsrealty.com


Posted by Eddie Hoskins on 11/4/2019

When you want to buy a home, you know that good credit will be necessary. You may have heard some things about your credit score that just arenít true. Read on to set the record straight on some of the most significant misconceptions about credit. 


Checking Your Credit Only Gives You Knowledge


Checking your credit score or report will not lower your score. The only way checking a score is damaging to a credit score is in the form of credit inquiries. This is when a lender, employer, or other merchant checks your credit in order for you to either gain employment or open a new line of credit. You have the right to review your score without it being impacted. 


You Shouldnít Carry Balances


The best way to keep a high credit score is to use a credit card and pay the balance off in full each month. Itís a false belief that carrying a balance is an excellent way to increase your credit score. You need a low debt level to maintain a good credit score. 


Your Age And Income Have Nothing To Do With Your Score


Itís natural that older people who have a longer credit history have a better shot a good credit score, but your age has nothing to do with your score. It all depends on when you established credit. Some people started their credit histories early because their parents opened accounts for them. Others needed to wait awhile before opening their first credit card account. 


Your income also is not a factor in determining your credit score. It may be true that if you have a higher income, itís easier to stay out of debt, but the amount of money you make has no direct impact on your score. 


You Cannot Access Your Credit Score For Free


You have a legal right to obtain a free copy of your credit report once a year but, your credit score isn't included in this report. There are free services that are outside of your credit report that will give you your credit rating, but you need to search for them. Itís a good idea to check your credit report periodically, but you should also know your score especially if you're getting ready to make a big purchase such as buying a home.


Your Credit Matters More Than You Think


While you know your credit score matters when you head to get a home loan, you may not know just how many entities take your credit into account when you apply for them. Some things you may do where your credit score matters:


Apply for a job

Apply for a credit card

Rent an apartment

Sign up for phone and Internet services

Get other utilities in your home


Your credit history gives a picture to the world to let them know if youíre financially stressed. If you have gone through rough patches, there are always ways to bring your score up. If you had a judgment ruled against you in a lawsuit, for example, that would only appear on your credit report for a certain number of years. Lenders will often allow you to explain bumps in your credit report as well. Understanding credit is half the battle to a good score!      




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Posted by Eddie Hoskins on 9/23/2019

Understanding how your credit score goes together and how to improve it is a bit of a murky subject. The advice out there is not always consistent and depends on the financial viewpoint of the source. However, there are concrete factors that do go into the calculation of a credit score and when you understand what ingredients go into the mix, you can cook up a sweet situation for yourself. To begin, you will need to understand the many financial terms that you will encounter.

Learning the lingo 

A credit utilization, or utilization ratio, is how much of your total available credit is open for use. Most of the advice you find states that a ratio under 30% is good, but a better number is under 15%. Revolving credit cards are those accounts that you can leave a balance on and roll it over month-to-month, paying over time. Examples of these would be your major name cards, some gas cards, and department store cards. Installment plans are your auto, home loans, and student loans. Charge card credit accounts are those that you pay in full each month. An example is American Express Charge Card versus American Express Credit Card. Service credit accounts are those you have an agreement with, like your utilities or cell phone service provider. In the end, having a mix of credit types helps to raise your credit score. 

Helpful hints for credit scores

Another thing that helps your score is the age or history, of your credit accounts. Age counts for a percentage of your creditworthiness. The older your accounts are, the better, proof that time is on your side. Closing accounts can raise your ratio, so be careful about what you decide to do with paid-off credit cards or lines of credit. Even though you are not going to use that account, you may want to leave it open at a zero balance to help keep your ratio low. Apply for new credit only when you need to. For example, when buying a vehicle or a home, having too many inquiries for new credit in a small period can lower your score. Paying on time is a tremendous way to keep your score in a desirable range. Pay on or before the due date, every month. Keeping an eye on your utilization ratio so you can be sure to keep your score where you want.

Take the time this month to calculate your credit utilization ratio.




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Posted by Eddie Hoskins on 7/22/2019

If youíre hoping to buy a home in the near future there are several financial prerequisites that you should aim to meet. Ideally, youíll want a sizable down payment, a verifiable income history, and a good credit score.

It takes time to build credit. For most people, it can be several months or even years before they see a double-digit change in their credit score. However, if you have a low credit score and want to give it a quick boost, there are ways you can make a big difference.

But first, why should you focus on your credit score?

Credit scores and mortgages

When you apply for a mortgage there are several factors that your lender will take into consideration. One of their top concerns will be your credit score. This score is like a snapshot of your financial reliability. It tells lenders how much risk is involved in lending to you.

As a result, lenders will increase your interest rate if you are high risk and lower it if you are lower risk. To be a low risk homeowner, youíll want your score to be in the high range, (usually 700 or above).

Credit change potential

Depending on your financial history, it can be more difficult to raise your score in a shorter period of time. If you are young, donít have a long credit history, or havenít had many bills to pay in your lifetime, your score will be more malleable than someone who has had low credit for years due to late payments.

In the United States, you have to be eighteen to open up a credit card or take out a loan by yourself (this is different from getting a loan co-signed by a parent or guardian).  You can also ask your parents or guardians to add you as an authorized user of their credit cards. This will let you build credit without having to settle for the high interest rate credit cards you would be eligible for.

If you happen to have a low score (anywhere between 300 - 600), the good news is you can achieve a larger change over a shorter amount of time than someone who already has a high score.

So, how do you achieve that change?

Credit errors

One of the easiest ways to quickly improve your score is to check for errors in your credit report. You can get a free report each year from the three main credit bureaus--Equifax, TransUnion, and Experian.

Look out for bills that have been mistakenly put under your name and for collections that shouldnít be on your account.

Avoid new credit

One thing that can do short-term harm to your credit score is opening or attempting to open new lines of credit. That can be a store card, a loan, or getting your credit checked by a lender.

If you want to build credit quickly, making several inquiries could land you with a lower score than where you started.

Pay your regular expenses with credit

A good way to gain credit points in a few months is to pick a monthly expense to use your credit card for. Pay off your full balance at the end of each billing cycle to earn the most points while avoiding building up too much interest.





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Posted by Eddie Hoskins on 3/12/2018

One of the most important factors that many home buyers face is that of their credit score. You have the right to get one free credit report per year. There are also many different apps and websites that keep you updated on your credit score and any changes in your credit report. These programs even guide you in how to improve your score. 


Why Do We Have Credit Scores? 


A credit score is a number that shows how creditworthy a person is. Lenders look at this score in order to assess how risky a person may be to lend to. This lessens the potential risks that the lender may face, keeping people who may be at high risk for defaulting from securing a loan in the first place. 


Whatís A Good Score?


Credit scores range from 300 to 850, with 850 being the highest score that you can get. A credit score of 700 or above is considered good. A credit score above 800 is seen as excellent. The bottom line is that the better your credit score is, the more reliable of a borrower you will be seen as by lenders. 


If your credit score is less than stellar, however, you need to get to work so that you will be able to get loans in the near future. Hereís some steps that you can take to improve your credit:


Pay Off Outstanding Debt 


If you owe anything on medical collection accounts, credit cards, legal judgements; basically any debt that will show up on your credit report, you need to pay these off. Getting rid of debt can help you to increase your credit score more quickly. 


Rebuild Your Credit


Youíll need to keep up any accounts that you have with good payment history and maintain the good work. You should be diligent to maintain those on-time payments for an increased good payment history. Even if you have accounts that have had late payments previously, you can still work to get the accounts back in good order. 


If you donít happen to have any existing credit accounts, youíll need to get one in order to begin establishing credit. A good way to do this is to apply for a credit card and only charge what you can afford each month in order to help establish a credit history.     

Look At Your Whole Financial Picture


Aside from your credit score, youíll need to take a look at your bigger financial picture. Everything from the amount of savings that you have available to how much of a home youíll be able to afford is important. You need sufficient income so that youíll be able to buy a home and provide a down payment along with money to pay closing costs. 


Once you start investigating your credit score and how to improve it, youíll be on your way to better financial health.





Posted by Eddie Hoskins on 10/10/2016

Credit is tied to most big financial decisions you will make in your life. From things as little as opening up a store card at the mall to buying your first home, your credit score is going to play a factor. When it comes to mortgages, lenders take your credit score, particularly your FICO score, into consideration in†determining the interest rate that you will likely be stuck with for years. How is your credit score determined and what can you do to use it to get a better rate on your mortgage? We'll cover all of that and more in this article.

Deciphering credit scores

Most major lenders assign your credit score based on the information provided by three national credit bureaus: Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion. These companies report your credit history to FICO, who give you a score from 300 to 850 (850 being the best your score can get). When applying for a mortgage (or attempting to be pre-approved for a home loan), the lender you choose will weight several aspects to determine if they will lend money to you and under what terms they will lend you the money. Among these are your employment status, current salary, your savings and assets, and your credit score. Lenders use this data to attempt to determine how likely you are to pay off your debt. To be considered a "safe" person to lend money to it will require a combination of things, including good credit. What is good credit? Credit scores are based on five components:
  • 35%: your payment history
  • 30%: your debt amount
  • 15%: length of your credit history
  • 10%: types of credit you have used
  • 10%: recent credit inquiries (such as taking out new loans or opening new credit cards)
As you can see, paying your bills and loans on time each month is the key factor in determining your credit score. Also important, however, is keeping your total amount of debt low. Most aspects of your credit score are in your control. Only 10% of your score is determined by the length of your credit history (i.e., when you opened your first card or took out your first loan). To build your credit score, you'll need to focus on lowering your balances, making on-time payments, and giving yourself time to diversify your credit.

What does this mean for taking out mortgages?

A higher credit score will get you a lower interest rate. By the time you pay off your mortgage, just a hundred points on your credit score could save you thousands on your mortgage, and that's not including the money you might save by getting lower interest rates on other loans as well. If you would like to buy a home within the next few years, take this time to focus on building your credit score:
  • If you have high balances, do your best to lower them
  • If you have a tendency to miss payments, set recurring reminders in your phone to make sure you pay on time
  • If you don't have diverse credit, it could be a good time to take out a loan or open your first credit card
When it comes time to apply for a mortgage, you'll thank yourself for focusing more on your credit score.




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