Not all credit repair services are legitimate. There are many rules that the Federal Trade Commission imposes around credit repair services, and not all companies follow those rules. So which credit repair services are safe to use, and which of those provides the best service? We tested all of the top names in credit repair to find the answer. We ranked the services based on pricing, services offered, reliability and customer service. Check out all the reviews below and find the right credit repair service for you.
Credit repair services use the laws around credit reporting to contest derogatory items on your credit report. They are most effective at removing errors or misinformation from your credit report, but can also be used to find derogatory information that can easily be removed because it violates the rules and regulations around credit reporting. Credit repair services will send legal documents contesting the information on your behalf to the credit bureaus. If the bureaus cannot authenticate the information, it will be removed from your credit report.
It depends on what is in your credit report. If all of the negative information in your credit report is accurate, a credit repair service may not be able to have any of it removed. Remember, only false or unvalidated information can be removed from a credit report. There are ways that credit repair services can work with your creditors to remove certain information from your credit report, such as late payments, but overall it is not easy to get accurate information removed from your credit report.
If you have not checked your credit report for years, there may be inaccurate information on it that can be contested, but if you have checked your report and you know that all the information is accurate, it might not be cost-effective to sign up for a credit repair service.
Source: Next Advisor 10/10/2017
One of the things that everyone living in Colorado needs to be aware of is radon gas. There’s a high risk for it in every county in Colorado. It’s a naturally occurring radioactive gas that comes from the breakdown of uranium in the soil. You can’t see it, can’t smell it, can’t taste it, and it can kill you.
It’s a gas the lies deep in the soil, and some of the common ways that it enters homes are through cracks in the foundation, or around electrical outlets, openings around sump pumps and drains, construction joints, pipes and crawl spaces. It doesn’t matter what’s the age and/or type of home they’re all vulnerable to high levels of radon.
No level of radon is considered safe, the EPA has set an action level of 4 picocuries per liter of air. Any home with a level above “4” will need a mitigation system installed in the home. Normally a home is warmer and has a lower air pressure than the surrounding soil, which results in gases in the soil moving into a home. For more information, you can look at A Citizens Guide to Radon from the EPA.
1) Use a trusted Realtor
You want to choose someone that you like and you feel he/she is trustworthy and you can rely on. You may be working with them from 1-6 months and communication is very important for your relationship. A good realtor will work for you protecting your interest and guide you through the buying process.
A real estate agent is someone that earns a license to sell property. Which in Colorado a minimum of 168 pre-licensing and passing both state and national portion of the Colorado real estate broker exam. A broker is someone’s who’s continued his/her studies and can hire agents to work under him/her. A Realtor is either an agent or broker who is a member of the National Association of Realtors. Realtors adhere to a detailed code of ethics to treat their clients honestly and fairly. They are supposed to be committed to your cause.
2) Buying a home involves a contract
There are many papers to sign and each time you sign, there are consequences. Most of the contracts are standardized by the state, where new home-building contracts are often very different from the standardized contracts. Contracts are meant to be negotiated and can be modified, if both parties agree. If you want more time to review your appraisal or inspection, wish to wave a radon test or want to make your purchase subject to a mortgage approval, you can make that a part of the contract. This is where a good realtor can help you.
3) Consider how long you might be living in the house
For most people, this is the biggest financial investments that they’ll ever make. You should consider will the home support the growth of your family, are you getting married, will you need to move to keep your job, will you be happy with this home years later?
Depending on the market and the terms of your mortgage, it may take five years or more to gain any equity in your home.
4) Think about the commitment
It can sometimes involve more than just the mortgage payments. What if you get married? The laws of your state normally determine how your assets are handled and how they are distributed at divorce. When you buy a house with your significant other who isn’t your spouse, make sure you have an exit plan if things don’t go the way you hope. It’s a good idea to get a written agreement in place with respect to titling, mortgage payments and liability, insurance, etc. It’s best to have this agreement written by a lawyer.
5) Get pre-approved for a home loan
Looking for a home before getting preapproved for a mortgage is like going to the store without any money or credit cards. Pre-approval is different from pre-qualification.
Pre-qualification is based on the information that the buyer provided to the lender and an estimate given based on that information.
Pre-approval is based on verified information and documents that the buyer provides to the lender to determine exactly how much money can be lent to the buyer.
Some of the required documents will include:
- Pay stubs
- Last two years’ W-2s
- Last two years federal tax returns
- Last two months bank statements
- Your credit reports
A pre-approval isn’t a loan commitment, but it helps to accelerate the final underwriting and loan approval process.
You can get your credit reports for free from FreeCreditReport.com.
In a highly competitive market, you must present yourself as a serious buyer. Most often without a pre-approval letter from a lender, your offer on a home will be rejected. You need to know what’s your price limit and don’t look at homes that you can’t afford. Don’t assume what you can afford, find out exactly, save you and your realtor time and money spent looking a home that’s out of your reach.
6) Look beyond the paint
To get a great deal you normally have to buy a house that needs some type of repairs, some cosmetic issues are fairly inexpensive to fix. And on the other hand, there may be some significant repairs that are required. That doesn’t mean that you should give up on the house that needs significant repairs but you should factor in those costs when determining whether you can afford to buy.
7) Be sure that you can afford the payments
If you can’t pay the mortgage every month and/or don’t have the money to make repairs, your dream home may turn into a disaster. Have a serious discussion with your mortgage lender, take the time to figure out your monthly budget.
Overspending creates financial problems that can lead to stress and have negative effects on your marriage, family relationships and financial health. Budgeting is a big key to having a happy, secure financial life. Using a financial calculator can sometimes help you to determine what you can afford.
8) You need to consider your student loan debt
Many student loan borrowers – 71 percent, in a recent survey – say student loans are one reason they’ve delayed buying a home. But could soon be changing, according to U.S. News and World Report (May 03, 2017)
New rules on student loans may make it easier for many to qualify for mortgages. Fannie Mae has made some big changes that may help millions of home buyers get a home loan. You should check with your lender for more details.
9) Be sure to read your contract before you sign it
This will more than likely be the biggest purchase of your life, so make sure that you understand the terms of your contract. If you don’t understand it, ask your real estate broker and lender. Know what you’re signing.
10) Make a list of items to check
Make a list of the things that you must haves, nice to haves and other essentials. Do this before you start house hunting, carry this list with you to every house, take pictures at each house.
And after you leave each house rate the house on a scale from 1-10. Have it set in your mind, that no house is a perfect 10 and none are a complete zero. After leaving each house, determine where it ranks among the houses that you’ve already seen.
Buying a home can be a very emotional and stressful process. Ideally, you want to set aside all your emotions when evaluating a house.
When you purchase your home, wouldn’t you like to make sure that the seller actually owns the property and that the home’s title is free of problems. If the title that you receive has problems, this can limit your use and enjoyment of the property, as well as result in financial loss. That is what a title search and title insurance are for.
The Title Search
The Owner’s Title Policy (Owner’s Policy)
The Lenders Title Insurance (Loan Policy)
The Closing Process
SOME THINGS THAT EVERY CONSUMER SHOULD KNOW ABOUT THEIR CREDIT
If you have bad credit, that can stop you from obtaining a home loan.
And if you do get a loan with not so good credit, it’ll come at the expense of having a high interest rate. Which will result in a higher mortgage payment and paying more money for the same house.
Unfortunately for borrowers, most credit reports contain inaccurate information. According to a February 2013 article from CNN, millions of Americans have some have errors on their credit report.
Many people don’t know that have consumers’ rights which are protected under the Fair Credit Reporting Act. This act guarantees consumers accuracy, fairness and privacy in their credit reports.
Consumers have the ability to correct, update, amend and take action regarding the information in their credit report.
But consumers need to take the necessary action to protect their rights. Credit Bureaus only report the information that’s provided to them from creditors and they have no obligation to verify if it’s true.
These mistakes can lead to the consumer being denied for insurance, jobs, loans and also result in higher interest rates.
Consumers are allowed free credit reports through AnnualCreditReport.com and if they find mistakes they can work with the credit reporting company to fix it.
One of the things that consumers can do to combat this problem is review your credit report periodically.
Make sure that it’s accurate, complete and up-to-date before you apply for a home or car loan, buy insurance or apply for a job.
To order a free copy of your credit report, visit annualcreditreport.com, call 877.322.8228 or complete the Annual Credit Report Request Form and mail it to:
Annual Credit Report Request Service
P.O. Box 105281
Atlanta, GA 30348-5281
The Tax Benefits of Owning
The tax deductions you’re eligible to take for mortgage interest and property taxes greatly increase the financial benefits of home ownership. Let’s work through a hypothetical situation to see how it works.
For a married couple filing jointly earning $112,400 in gross income, here’s how those homeownership deductions might work:
-12,577 (home ownership deductions)
= 99,823 (taxable income)
Using IRS tax tables from 2014, their tax would be $16,669. Without the deductions, they would pay $19,812.50 in taxes ($112,400 X 25% - 8,287.50, based on the 2014 IRS Computation Worksheet). This means they save $3,143.50 on their taxes as homeowners.
Of course, this is just one example to give you an idea of how homeownership might affect your tax liability. These numbers will vary according to your mortgage, local tax rates, marital status, income, and based upon other deductions for which you may qualify.
Consult with your CPA or tax professional to understand your particular situation.
Prepare to Finance a Home
Develop a budget:
Use receipts and your banking transaction history to create a budget that reflects your actual habits over the last several months. This approach will better factor in unexpected expenses alongside more predictable costs such as utility bills and groceries. You’ll probably spot ways to save, whether it’s cutting out a Starbucks run or eating dinner at home more often.
Lenders generally look for a debt load of no more than 36 percent of income. This figure includes your mortgage, which typically ranges between 25 and 28 percent of your net household income. So you need to get monthly payments on the rest of your installment debt—car loans, student loans, and revolving balances on credit cards — down to between 8 and 10 percent of your net monthly income.
Increase your income:
Now’s the time to ask for a raise! If that’s not an option, you may want to consider taking on a second job to get your income at a level high enough to qualify for the home you want.
Save for a down payment:
Designate a certain amount of money to put away in your savings account each month. Although it’s possible to get a mortgage with less than 5 percent down, you can usually get a better rate if you put down more. Aim for 20 percent of the purchase price.
Keep your job:
While you don’t need to be in the same job forever to qualify for a home loan, having a job for less than two years may mean you have to pay a higher interest rate.
Establish a good credit history:
Get a credit card and make all your bill payments on time. Pay off entire balances as promptly as possible. Also, obtain a copy of your credit report, which includes a history of your credit, bad debts, and late payments. Ensure that it’s accurate and correct any errors immediately.
Even if you have enough money to qualify for a mortgage and cover your down payment, you will also need to factor in closing costs, which can average between 2 and 7 percent of the home price, and incidentals such as the cost of hiring a home inspector.
Decide what kind of mortgage you can afford:
Generally, you want to look for homes valued between two and three times your gross income, but a financing professional can help determine the size of loan for which you’ll qualify. Find out what kind of mortgage (30-year or 15-year? Fixed or adjustable rate?) is best for you. Also, gather the documentation a lender will need to preapprove you for a loan, such as W-2s, pay stub copies, account numbers, and copies of two to four months of bank or credit union statements. Don’t forget property taxes, insurance, maintenance, utilities, and association fees, if applicable.
Seek down payment help:
Check with your state and local government to find out whether you qualify for special mortgage or down payment assistance programs. If you have an IRA account, you can use the money you’ve saved to buy your first home without paying a penalty for early withdrawal.
Loans & Lending Terms
Mortgages are generally available at 15-, 20-, or 30-year terms. In general, the longer the term, the lower the monthly payment. However, shorter terms mean you pay less interest over the life of the loan.
Fixed vs. adjustable interest rates.
A fixed rate allows you to lock in a low interest rate as long as you hold the mortgage and, in general, is a good choice if interest rates are low. An adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) usually offers a lower rate that will rise as market rates increase. ARMs usually have a limit as to how much and how frequently the interest rate can be increased. These types of mortgages are a good choice when fixed interest rates are high or if you expect your income to grow significantly in the coming years.
Also sometimes called “exotic,” these mortgage types were common in the run-up to the housing crisis, and often featured loans with low initial payments that increase over time.
This is a form of non-traditional financing where your interest rate will be very low for a short period of time—often three to seven years. Payments usually only cover interest so the principal owed is not reduced. This type of loan may be a good choice if you think you will sell your home at a large profit in a few years.
These loans are sponsored by agencies such as the Federal Housing Administration or the Department of Veterans Affairs. They offer special terms, including reduced interest rates to qualified buyers. VA Loans are open to veterans, reservists, active-duty personnel, and surviving spouses and are one of the only options available for zero down payment loans. FHA loans are open to anyone, and while they do require a down payment, it can be as low as 3.5 percent. Drawbacks include a slower loan process and—for FHA loans—the need to pay mortgage insurance.
As the housing market shifts, so do lending practices. A mortgage broker—an independent professional who acts as an intermediary between you and lending institutions—may be able to help you find a better rate than you can on your own. Also, be sure to shop around; slight variations in interest rates, loan amounts, and terms can significantly affect your monthly payment.