Saturday, March 26, 2011
This applies to everyone—mortgage companies, auto dealerships, credit card companies, landlords, insurance agents, utilities—basically anyone who uses a credit score.
In addition to letting you know your credit score, you will receive an explanation of the range of the score and a graph on how your score compares to other consumer scores.
Here are some tips if you are not happy about your score:
1. Contact the creditor who sent you your score and ask how many points are needed to get the best rates. If they tell you 15 or 20, it’s fairly easy to get it increased. If it’s 100, you’ve got your work cut out for you.
2. If you’re planning on requesting credit in the future, order a credit report ahead of time and see what’s on it. The law allows you one free credit report every year. www.AnnualCreditReport.com . However, a credit score is NOT included so consider buying your credit score ahead of time - www.MyFico.com.
3. Learn what goes into a credit score and www.scoreinfo.org has an educational website with great explanations on what influences credit scores.
If you decide to buy your credit score, be careful NOT to accidently sign up for a credit monitoring service which would be billed to you on a monthly basis. You don’t need that right now—you just need to know your score.
Over 2/3 of consumers haven’t ordered their free credit report in the last 12 months. Even if you aren’t applying for credit—you need to know what’s on your report!
Luck may have a little chance in getting your house sell fast, but there is a good chance for quick selling when a house is prepared to sell. Pricing could be very important factor, anyhow there are other important factors that will have a great deal of effect on where your house is ready for quick sale or not.
1. Prepare yourself first to sell your house. You need to do your best to see the house as no longer your home, but just as a product to be marketed. This may take some work, particularly if you have been having that home for a number of years and has many good memories, but this is required if you want to maximize your potential.
2. Consider a qualified whole house inspection. An inspection would presumably expose any huge defects before they could cause future trouble with a potential buyer. It also is a signal to your buyers that you are a responsible and good seller.
3. Prepare the house. Stand back and look at your own house as impartially as possible. Would you purchase this home? Ask your friends and neighbors to do the same, asking them to be completely honest. Overlooking faults may cost you money! Get them fixed before you put the house on the real estate market.
4. Do what is essential to make your house be notable from the competition. Make sure that your house is fresher, cleaner, and much better maintained than other. Familiarize yourself with successful marketing and advertising techniques.
5. Remove most of the "impression", which you have crated on the house. Having just a few family pictures around is good, but if your house is a "place of worship" for your family, then walls full of personal pictures you need to take some steps to depersonalize it. Buyers must be able to imagine themselves in the house that is just impossible if everywhere they turn they stare at you!
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Start with reading the operations manual that comes with your vehicle. In it you’ll find all the manufacturers information on how to care for your vehicle. They built it. They know how it should run. Follow their recommendations.
The important systems within your vehicle that you’ll need to keep an eye on are the engine, drivetrain, cooling and ignition systems and the emissions control system. Each of these, if not cared for, will affect not only the fuel efficiency of your vehicle, but also the general health of your ride.
• Oil changes are necessary. Oil for your vehicles engine is the substance that allows the engine to work. It wears out and occasionally, needs to be changed. The general rule is to change it every 3,000 miles or 90 days. Which ever comes first. Neglect this aspect of maintenance at your own peril.
• Most vehicles today are fuel-injected. Be sure to change the air filter on these vehicles as a dirty filter will impede acceleration thus causing you to press the pedal harder and use more fuel. That said, many of us still drive vehicles with the “old time” carburetor attached to the top of the engine. In addition to keeping the air filter clean, you’ll need to keep an eye on the fuel filter. These need to be replaced occasionally.
• Keep your tires inflated at the prescribed level. The amount of gas that can be wasted (not to mention wear and tear on the tires) with under inflated tires is astonishing. In my Expedition, if I don’t keep the tires inflated to the correct PSI, I can almost watch my gas gauge drop just by driving to the store! Check the tire pressure monthly and keep them filled at the correct level.
A well maintained vehicle will save you money and provide you with years of dependable service. A poorly maintained vehicle will break down more often and can increase your maintenance costs by 15% or more. Just considering fuel mileage, that translates into an extra $10 per fill up if you have a 20 gallon fuel tank. That adds up to a lot of money!
Take care of your ride and it will take care of you!
Wednesday, March 9, 2011
A home is not just an investment; it’s a place to live. Does the location fit your lifestyle? Buying a home is a “social statement”. When you buy a big home, you are making a statement to family, friends, and neighbors. Ask yourself how big of a “social statement” can you afford? If you have a steady job, matching your income with your mortgage payment and expenses is a good thing. But if you are an entrepreneur or work on commission, it pays to be more conservative.
Do you see yourself living there? Sit in the dining & living room. Imagine yourself and your family gathering in the kitchen. Picture YOUR furniture in the rooms.
Is there room for all of your stuff? Check out the closets, storage space, garages, basement or sheds—or will you have to hold a garage sale before you move?
How big is the yard? While it looks good on paper that the yard is huge, ask yourself if you really want to maintain it on a regular basis?
Will someone else like it? While this is going to be your home, and you might live there forever, at some point in time, you (or your family) will probably sell it.
Some of the things you can ignore? Paint, carpeting, and kitchen appliances. These are items that can be easily replaced. Unless you see major problems with the electrical, plumbing, heating or structure, rely on the home inspection to find the problems.
Happy house hunting!
Dr. Kathleen Gurney, CEO Financial Psychology Corporation, says that not only do we have a physical self, and emotional self and a social self, we also have a “money/financial” self. In fact, she describes 9 distinct money personality types! Which one are you?
Achiever – Usually a college graduate—mostly married! They feel work and effort will pay off in the long run. They tend to distrust others’ honesty when it comes to money. Being the “take-charge” type, they have a strong need to control their money.
Entrepreneurs – Usually rank as the higher income earners, they tend to be workaholics who are not motivated by money alone. They use it as a scorecard to measure their success. They reward themselves with the best cars, homes, wines, and investing in the stock market is their favored strategy.
High Rollers – Money brings them instant power and recognition. They are creative, competitive, and extroverted—they work hard and play harder and money for them is an emotional release. They prefer to risk their assets rather than sit back and be bored by financial security.
Hunters – Usually highly educated, average to above-average income earners who make purchase decisions with their hearts rather than their heads. They have a strong work ethic, but attribute their success to “luck” versus ability and judgment. They lack confidence when it comes to making good decisions about money.
Money Masters – They are the number one wealth accumulators—even though they don’t earn the most money. They enjoy being involved in investing their money and enjoy what money brings them. They trust the recommendations of others and make sound investments.
Perfectionists – They are afraid of making a mistake—so they also avoid making decisions with their money. They consider every angle and find fault with almost all investment decisions. They do TRY to save, but often lack self-esteem when it comes to investing.
Producers – They work hard, desire more money, but they feel that they have difficulty in “getting ahead”. They don’t understand how the money system works and lack the confidence to make financial decisions—because they don’t take the time to understand them.
Optimists – They are often near retirement age—and the money they have saved has brought them peace of mind. Their money decisions may be impulsive, but not high risk. However, they are not highly involved with investments or taxes—which could cause stress later on.
Safety Players – They are average earners and most of their money goes into safe and secure investments. They miss opportunities for more financial growth by not taking calculated risks. They feel they are doing just fine—and are resistant to making any changes to their investment strategies.
Want to take a quiz? Google “Money Personality Quiz” and you’ll find several of them online.
Saturday, March 5, 2011
People are talking about the 30 year fixed mortgage "going away." Pundits like to imply that with the exit of Fannie/Freddie that mortgage term will disappear. First, IF Fannie/Freddie do go away they will be replaced with some other gov. entity. Second, the 30 year fixed fits extremely well with the American consumer AND mortgage lenders.
The Straight Up Answer: No need to worry. The 30 year fixed isn't going anywhere any time soon. This loan product is the number one asked for mortgage loan in America. It's here to stay.