A good credit history is very important these days.
Especially if you plan on buying a home.
Consumers with good credit scores easily qualify for mortgages, and save hundreds of thousands of dollars by getting low interest rates. On the other hand, consumers with bad credit have a lot more difficult time obtaining mortgages.
Individuals with bad credit end up with high interest rate loans, large down payment requirements, and very often get denied for home loans altogether. But fortunately, bad credit doesn’t have to be a permanent problem. There is a solution for bad credit which will help you qualify for a mortgage loan in the future.
Pay your current bills/debt on time. If you’re struggling to pay your bills on time, you will need to create a budget which outlines your income and all of your expenses. Cut back all non essential expenditures and make sure that you do not make any late payments.
Make payment arrangements. If after cutting back your expenses your income still can’t cover your bills, contact your creditors to work out alternative payment arrangements and make sure to make all payments on time per your agreement.
Reduce your debt. Debt is kryptonite to mortgages. A high amount of debt lowers your credit score and increases your debt to income ratio (DTI), which makes it more difficult if not impossible to get financing. Pay down your debt, start with your credit cards and pay them down until the balances are no more than 30% of the credit limits. Then, pay down your debt to get your DTI down to 31% or less.
Repair your payment history. If you have derogatory accounts such as late payments, collections, charge-offs, repossessions, etc… appearing on your credit report, you will need to repair your credit history. Payment history accounts for 35% of your credit score and removing these types of accounts will help increase your chances of getting a loan. You may either fix your credit yourself or hire a professional credit repair agency like CreditFirm.net to help you fix your credit report.
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by Neal Frankle
As you probably already know, it can be almost impossible to obtain a bank mortgage with bad credit. If you otherwise can’t get a loan because you have a troubled credit history, one alternative to a traditional bank mortgage is to obtain one from the seller. Seller financing has its benefits, as well as its risks. You also need to know how to find the right seller to meet your needs.
Why sellers might consider financing a mortgage
These days, real estate prices have dropped yet property owners are still having a hard time selling homes. That means more owners are desperate to sell. As a result, more sellers may entertain using this unconventional approach.
Interest rates are also low. This can make seller financing more attractive to property owners, especially those who aren’t reinvesting in more real estate but are looking for income-producing investments. Banks offer investors less than 2% interest. If you come along and offer 4%, that could be engaging for the right seller.
The benefits of seller financing
First, if you have some financial challenges in your history and need to build your credit score, conventional lenders may not be willing to give you a loan. If that’s the case, this may be the only alternative you have to take advantage of the current low real estate prices.
Second, when you get a loan directly from your seller, you save all kinds of fees. These purchases are typically made directly. That means you save on real estate commissions on top of all the loan fees and points you keep. Compared to a conventional purchase, you could be saving tens of thousands of dollars when you consider all the commissions, points and fees.
On top of that, you could possibly arrange a much lower interest rate. For example, if you have impaired credit, you might get a loan from a bank but it might be very expensive. On the other hand, a seller might be persuaded to view your credit history differently and extend a lower rate as a result.
How to find the right seller
To be sure, most people who sell real estate are not in a position to back your loan. And even those who are may need to be persuaded. But you only need to find one seller who is willing.
You are looking for people who are downsizing and those with a ton of equity or better yet, no mortgage at all. Get the word out to friends and family. Spread a wide net. Use your social circles and social media such as Twitter and Facebook to get the word out. Search ads in Craigslist and actually place an ad there and in your local paper. Don’t give up and don’t stop there. Let people in your church, synagogue, or other communities know what you are looking for and ask them to keep their eyes open.
You can even approach real estate agents and brokers. Let them know what you are interested in doing. Speak to many brokers and follow up with them. Ask friends if they know good real estate professionals who either specialize in this or who are seasoned veterans. Realtors who have been active for many years have the greatest chance of knowing clients who might be the perfect match for you.
How to convince a seller to do business with you
As I said, most sellers will be hesitant to carry your loan. That’s because they don’t want to have to foreclose should you be unable to make your payments. And they think you are a greater risk since they know banks won’t grant you a loan.
Your job is to help them overcome their fears. You do this by coming into the deal with a very large down payment. Also, prepare a “resume” of sorts that shows them how stable your income is. Be upfront about credit blemishes and explain what you’ve done to correct your mistakes.
As a last resort, get another person to co-sign the loan. This is certainly far from ideal and it may be difficult. But like finding a seller to finance, remember, you only need to find one person to co-sign in order to make this happen.
Buying a home using seller financing is not without risk. If a bank feels it’s better off not making a loan to you, they might know something you don’t. If you take on a debt that you can’t afford, you’ll end up losing the property, your down payment and your good credit score.
Make sure if you go this route you are sure you know how much house you can afford — then buy a home that is a bit cheaper than that.
Buying a house and having the seller carry your mortgage can be a great way to take advantage of today’s low real estate prices and interest rates. It’s not easy to pull off but it’s well worth it if you have no alternative. And, while difficult, it’s far from impossible if you follow the steps outlined above.
Lenders Still Want Great Credit Scores for Mortgages
These days, many consumers are likely finding it easier to obtain many types of credit, as lenders have significantly slackened requirements for most loans and credit cards. However, the qualifications to obtain a good mortgage rate remain stubbornly high across the country.
Even as credit conditions improve significantly nationwide and many financial institutions are once again broadening lending efforts, many are still being extremely tight with financing for mortgages, according to a report from the New York Times. In fact, even as subprime lending for credit cards opens up considerably, many consumers with low credit scores will find themselves extremely unlikely to even be considered for a home loan approval.
A recent study by the Federal Reserve Board indicated that consumers with a credit score of 620 willing to make a 10 percent down payment are now less likely to be approved for a mortgage than they were in 2006, the report said. Further, some were even reticent to extend financing to borrowers making a similar down payment when their credit rating was 720.
This is because most lenders are still extremely gun-shy about lending large sums of money to anyone but the most qualified borrowers, the report said. In many cases, those who are approved for a home loan will also pay far higher rates on the mortgage than those who have top-notch credit scores, even as the average interest rate has hovered below 4 percent for some time now.
“If you don’t have good credit, you’re not going to get that crazy low rate,” Deborah MacKenzie, the director of counseling at the Stamford, Conn., nonprofit the Housing Development Fund, told the newspaper.
Typically, the only way consumers can improve their credit ratings so that they can qualify for a home loan is by being smarter about managing their various lines of credit, including keeping credit card balances low and making all payments on time and in full. These are the two biggest factors comprised in a credit score. However, consumers can also be hurt by applying for too many new lines of credit within a short period of time, so avoiding this ahead of shopping around for a mortgage can be crucial to maintaining good credit health as well.
Credit Report Repair
If you have any questions about your credit report or would like to find out how Credit Firm can help you improve your credit history and increase your credit score please contact us.
You’ve no doubt heard the advice many times: “Check your credit reports at least once a year to make sure they are accurate.” It’s good, solid advice worth heeding. But what happens when your credit info gets mixed up with someone else’s and you can’t seem to separate it? Or worse yet, if you check your credit reports and find no problems, but still get turned down for credit due to negative information?
The phenomenon is called “mixed files,” and it can be very difficult to straighten out.
To learn more, I spoke with Jill Riepenhoff, a reporter for the Columbus Dispatch. Along with her colleague Mike Wagner, she recently conducted an in-depth investigation into credit report complaints. Following is an edited excerpt from my interview with Riepenhoff on Talk Credit Radio:
This project had really organic beginnings for us though. A colleague of ours in the newsroom has had a long-time problem since 1994 trying to correct her credit report. She has been mixed with somebody who has a similar name and it’s just year after year of frustration. When I heard this, I thought, “That is crazy. That doesn’t happen.”
The first thing that I did was go to the Ohio Attorney General’s consumer website and I just put in the search terms of the big three credit reporting agencies. Immediately, I saw hundreds of complaints, and I thought there’s probably something here. So that was really how this began, it was just a personal story from someone in our newsroom, and wondering whether it was an isolated case.
We sent public record requests to the Attorney General of all 50 states and then we also did a Freedom of Information Act request at the Federal Trade Commission which was the full regulator of the credit reporting agencies until last July when the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau took over.
From the AGs, we were able to get complaints from about half the states. The others either wanted to charge us too much money or they weren’t public records. A couple of states just completely ignored us.
Ignored and Frustrated
The number one theme that jumped out right off the bat was that these consumers, by the time that they were contacting the AG’s office or the FTC, their concern was long ignored by the credit reporting agencies. Whatever the issue was, they could not get it corrected nor could they get anyone on the telephone at the credit reporting agency to help them.
I must say that these complaints (at least the ones from the FTC) were unverified. We don’t know what happened. We can’t say with 100% certainty that this was a legitimate complaint. But when you read the narratives of these, you just knew that there was something in there. Elderly people that were complaining because they didn’t know how to use a computer, they wanted to get their credit reports, they couldn’t get anybody on the phone to help them navigate the system. That’s a credible narrative in my mind.
Mixed and Mismatched
(To understand how this happens), I kind of picture it a little bit like a library. It’s not like there is a report that they picked out of the file cabinets that says “Jill Riepenhoff.” What they do, is when a creditor orders a report it kind of searches through all the library shelves and looks in all the books and finds all the ones that look like they belong to Jill Riepenhoff.
Well when I order my credit report, they’re pulling the books, if you will, that have my exact name, my exact address, my exact Social Security number, my exact date of birth, and typically they ask something about my account information: what’s your mortgage payments or who’s your car loan with or something like that. So, when the computer goes to pull the books off the shelf, they’re only finding those accounts that exactly match the needed information.
When creditors do that, they have much looser standards. They don’t have to ask for all that information, they can pull off the shelf based on a partial Social Security number or a partial name. So, like, we found situations where it was close enough. Myra could easily include information from somebody named Maria, for example. So the computers go in and pull all those books that look kind of close enough. Then, boom! You have a mixed report because you have Maria and Myra on the same report now. But that consumer won’t see that because it’s only going to pull the things that exactly match.
Your Worst Nightmare
One of the stories that we highlight in the series is the woman who went to buy a car in Colorado. And the week before she went to buy the car, she checked her credit report to make sure everything was in order. It was fine, she had a wonderful credit score. She even paid for the score to make sure that everything was above board.
She goes into the dealership. She even goes on her lunch break, thinking this is going to take that little amount of time. The next thing she knows, she’s practically in custody in the car dealership because when the car dealership ran her credit report, the matching formula used said was on a terrorist watch list from the federal government.
It took her about six years (to straighten it out) and she had to file a lawsuit in order to make the damage go away. On her own, she could not convince the credit reporting agency that she was not the international drug trafficker who the alert was up against.
The rate at which consumers fell behind on their home loans declined considerably in the first quarter of the year, and now stand at levels not seen in years.
The delinquency rate on home loans for properties of between one and four units fell to 7.4 percent of all outstanding loans in the first quarter of the year, down from 7.58 percent in the fourth quarter of 2011, and 8.32 percent in the same period last year, according to the latest statistics from the Mortgage Bankers Association. While declines are traditionally viewed in the first quarter of every year, the MBA’s data shows that the drops this year were more significant than traditional adjustments would have predicted, showing that the declines are real, rather than the result of seasonal norms.
“Newer delinquencies, loans one payment past due as of March 31, are down to the lowest level since the middle of 2007, indicating fewer new problems we will need to deal with in the future,” said Michael Fratantoni, the MBA’s vice president of research and economics. “The percentage of loans three payments or more past due, the loans that represent the backlog of problems that still need to be handled, is down to the lowest level since the end of 2008. Foreclosure starts are at their lowest level since the end of 2007.”
Delinquency fell for all types of mortgages except VA loans on a quarter-over-quarter basis, the report said. Prime fixed rate loan delinquency now stands at 4.07 percent, and late payments for prime adjustable-rate mortgages dropped to 9.05 percent, down from 9.22 percent in the fourth quarter. Further, loans backed by the Federal Housing Administration also saw drops in delinquency, falling to 12 percent from 12.36 percent a quarter earlier. The rate of homes that were in foreclosure increased on a quarterly basis, however, rising to 4.39 percent.
As the economy continues to generally improve, consumers are finding themselves in a better position to pay off all their outstanding debts on time. Factors such as declining unemployment rates and rising salaries have contributed to Americans feeling better about their personal financial situations. Experts believe that these trends will likely continue for some time, meaning that the housing industry may continue to improve, encouraging more qualified buyers to enter the market.