RE/MAX 440
John F. O'Hara

John F. O'Hara
731 W Skippack Pike  Blue Bell  PA 19422
Phone:  610-277-4060
Office:  215-643-3200
Cell:  267-481-1786
Fax:  267-354-6973

My Blog

What Factors Really Affect Your Credit Score?

March 17, 2015 2:12 am

A recently released TransUnion survey shed light on consumer confusion when it comes to credit scores. In fact, nearly half of all consumers falsely identified rental (45 percent) and cell phone (47 percent) payments as those that directly affect their score; however, these are not regularly reported to credit bureaus.

While consumers who frequently review their credit report incorrectly identify some aspects of it, consumers who rarely or never review their credit report have an even higher level of confusion. Among survey respondents who reported checking their report in the last 30 days, half mistakenly believe their full employment history (55 percent) and income level (41 percent) are included in their reports.

Surprisingly, even consumers who characterize their credit as “excellent” or “good” had trouble identifying credit report factors. Among those who characterized their credit as “excellent,” 49 percent mistakenly thought rental payments are included in their report, yet currently they are not regularly reported to credit bureaus in the same way that auto and mortgage payments are reported.

According to the survey findings, there are several noteworthy points of confusion about what affects a credit score and what information is included in credit reports, as follows:
  • Pay raises: Nearly half (48 percent) of respondents who’ve checked their credit report in the last year incorrectly believed an increase in income improves their score.
  • Credit inquiries: Forty percent of respondents who’ve never checked their report are unsure how it affects their score, and 20 percent who checked their report in the last year mistakenly believed checking their report would decrease their score.
  • Paying down debts: Sixty-one percent of those who checked their report in the last 30 days erroneously believed paying off debts from late payments automatically increases their score.
  • Trended information: Seventy percent of those who’ve checked their report in the last year incorrectly assumed that it reflected recent changes or trends in their finances over time.
To help consumers better understand their credit scores and reports, TransUnion debunked these common myths:

Myth #1: Your score drops if you check your own credit.

Fact:
Viewing your credit report counts only as a "soft inquiry" and doesn’t change the score. “Hard inquiries" by a lender or creditor, though, can slightly lower your credit score.

Myth #2: I should close old or inactive accounts to help my credit score.

Fact: This might actually have the reverse effect of lowering your credit score because it can shorten the measured duration of your credit history.

Myth #3: Paying off a negative record means it’s taken off your credit report.

Fact: Generally, negative records like collections or late payments will remain on your credit reports for up to seven years.

Myth #4: Co-signing doesn’t mean you’re responsible for the account.

Fact:
If you open a joint account or co-sign a loan, you will be held legally responsible for the account, meaning activity on the joint account as well is displayed on the credit reports of both account holders’ reports.

Myth #5: Making on-time rental, utility and cell phone payments helps my credit score.

Fact:
While outstanding rental, utility and cell phone debt that has gone to collections can negatively affect your score, generally, on-time payments are not regularly reported to credit bureaus.

Myth #6: My credit score reflects recent changes or trends in my payment behavior.

Fact: Historically, credit scores have not incorporated trended credit information, meaning they are a moment-in-time glimpse at consumer risk.

Source: TransUnion

Published with permission from RISMedia.


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5 Tips for Staging Curb Appeal

March 17, 2015 2:12 am

When buyers visit a potential home, they often make a mental list of the upgrades or repairs they’ll need to pay for if they decide to make an offer. These days, buyers create similar lists when viewing homes online, and if the images don’t showcase your home in the best light, it could delay the sale.

The exterior of the home is typically the first image they’ll see, so it’s important to stage the outside. Stage curb appeal for web appeal with these tips.

1. Declutter the lawn.
The most basic staging principle is to remove any signs of personality, and that includes the outdoors. Store wacky lawn chairs, children’s toys, lawn ornaments or any other items that can distract the buyer.

2. Stage the garage. This especially applies if your home has a front-facing garage. If your doors have seen better days, consider replacing them with a modern model. Set aside time to the clear out any clutter – buyers want space for their vehicles.

3. Power wash the deck. Rent a power washer and clear off the deck and any other outdoor structures that have accumulated debris. Be sure to remove leaves if you’re selling in the fall.

4. Maintain the landscape. Mow the lawn on a regular basis, trim back overgrown bushes and prune dead limbs from trees. Sweep away any dirt or leaves from your front steps. Flowers will add a pop of color and invite buyers in – just be sure to water them frequently.

5. Update fixtures.
Inspect your property for any signs of disrepair, such as broken storm doors or porch lights. Update your house numbers with a fresh set easily visible from the street.

Source: RISMedia’s Housecall

Published with permission from RISMedia.


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