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How FICO 9 May Increase Credit Scores

by Bill Nelson - Broker

How medical debt and other collection items are tallied in a credit score is changing, potentially increasing the credit scores of millions of people.

Called the FICO 9, the new credit score changes how medical collections are treated from non-medical changes, such as credit cards. A medical debt will now damage a credit score less than paying a credit card bill on time, for example.

FICO 9 came out in 2014, but the improved credit scores could just now be coming to fruition for many consumers because it can take a few years for banks and other lenders to implement the new system.

The new FICO 9 score should give responsible borrowers better access to credit and lower rates on existing credit once the changes are accepted by the industry.

Part of the thinking behind the changes is that for many people facing medical debt collections, it isn’t something they have a lot of control over. People get sick or are in an accident and can’t control how high their medical bills are, and may not even know that their medical debt is in collections.

More than 64 million Americans have some kind of medical collection record on their credit reports, according to Experian, a credit bureau. Almost all medical debts are reported to credit bureaus by collection agencies.

The FICO score is the most widely used credit score in the country, and is used by companies selling mortgages, credit cards, personal loans and more.

Another change with FICO 9 is that older collection items will have less impact on a credit score. Other types of debt that are sold to a collection agency—such as an unpaid utility bill or phone bill, school loan or rent—can still be reported to a credit bureau, but older collections will have less impact on a credit score. If the collection item is paid back, the score will improve.

I hope you found this real estate information helpful. Please contact me for all your real estate needs today!

Use Color Trends to Stage Your Home

by Bill Nelson - Broker

 

A favorite trick of home stagers is to pay attention to the hottest colors and incorporate those hues into the design and look of a home. That’s something that anyone who is selling a home should consider, and all it takes is a little research. To help people with ideas on how to decorate rooms, paint companies and designers announce their colors of the year along with trends in color palettes.

For 2017, Benjamin Moore has chosen Shadow 2117-30 as its Color of the Year. The color is a deep, rich violet or amethyst and is described as “exhibiting a variety of nuanced undertones as the light in a room shifts during the day.” This color has already made its way into various industries including textiles, home accessories, fashion, fine art and automotive.

Sherwin-Williams’ color palette trends for 2017 focus on renewed spirituality, body and soul nourishment and a determination to define a sense of self. Each of its four palettes (each of which consists of 10 colors) tells a distinct color story, offering opportunities for homeowners to explore color in new and exciting ways.

The first palette, Noir, is driven by baroque and romanticism trends, a renewed interest in faith and spirit, and a celebration of the night. The Noir palette is rich with colors that evoke vine-ripe fruits, Nordic blues, moody neutrals and golden yellow.

The company’s Holistic palette includes arctic neutrals, blush rose, wild browns and forest-floor green.

Intrepid is a palette inspired by impatience for social and political change and includes fiery oranges, vibrant kimono colors and the simplicity of black, white and gray. Finally, Sherwin-Williams Unbounded palette is influenced by global immigration and how it redefines national identities. Captured in this palette are earthy mustards and browns as well as ocean blues and corals.

Other colors that designers seem to be gravitating towards in 2017 include colors that bring a feel of the outdoors— greens, blues and earth tones, though a splash of royal colors of purple and orange seem popular as well. Green invokes nature, tranquility, and being more peaceful, and earth-toned taupes make you feel more grounded.

Now that you’ve come up with the colors, it’s time to put them to good use. Painting rooms is the most obvious way to incorporate them into the home, but you could also bring in furniture, rugs and decorative accessories in trend colors to help your home stand out from the rest.

I hope you found this information helpful. Contact me for your real estate needs today!

Moving Checklist

by Bill Nelson - Broker

Moving can be a hassle, especially when we fear were forgetting something. This moving checklist infographic will help keep you on track as well as informing you of deductibles that could apply to you.

The Homebuyer's Mortgage Dictionary

by Bill Nelson - Broker

Knowing that you are ready to buy a home can be an exhilarating feeling, except it is often followed by panic. While experience is the best teacher, there are some things you can do to regain control of the home buying experience. One of them is getting accustomed to the terminology, especially when it comes to the various types of available mortgages.

LearnVest offers a list of mortgage terms any first-time homebuyer should add to their dictionary:

  1. ARM: This acronym stands for adjustable rate mortgage, which in vernacular means a home loan with fluctuation interest rates. ARMs are very much a game of chance, starting off with a period of 3 – 10 years of low fixed rates, followed by an adjustable roller coaster-rate period. In short, your interest rate will reflect whatever’s happening in the market. This might be highly anxiety-inducing if you are not planning to sell by the time the rates adjust higher, but there is a chance that you will end up paying less if market trends are in your favor.
  2. Fixed-Rate Mortgage: This is the total opposite of the ARM. Instead of offering a fluctuating rate, you sign on for the same rate throughout the course of your mortgage loan. There are no surprises here, but the downside is that you must pay the same fee even if the market rates drop. There is some wiggle room thanks to refinancing, but fees and potential hassles come with it.
  3. Assumable Mortgage: This is a wild card that only becomes possible once in a blue moon. For this kind of mortgage, you take on the seller’s mortgage loan instead of taking out a new one for yourself. This helps when the market rate is higher than what the seller had it fixed at, plus it cuts some fees in the process. Yet, be aware that the seller’s lender must give you the green light as well. The other curve ball is that the home-selling price might surpass that of the mortgage balance.
  4. Balloon-Payment Mortgage: This mortgage option is like playing a game of Super Smash Brothers in which you are given 5 – 7 years of low monthly payments followed by a sudden death knockout match where you must make a giant final payment. Homebuyers tend to pick this type of loan because they expect to sell their home before the final payment while enjoying low interest rates during their ownership years. Another solution is applying for a new loan, but of course, who’s to say you’ll get it? And that’s where the sudden death part comes in: the balloon may just explode.

With this knowledge, you can now start planning your next move. What type of mortgage loan better suits your situation?

What's in your Autoresponder?

by Bill Nelson

The automatic email response – aka, the autoresponder - has become a ubiquitous part of our tech-driven society. When we’re away or tied up in meetings, having the ability to instantly let people know we’re not available allows us to feel that we’re being attentive and responsible. However, not all autoresponders are created equal. If yours doesn’t have the following components, it may be doing more harm than good:

A pleasant greeting. Your autoresponder should be pleasant and reflect your personality. Thank people for writing and assure them they will be taken care of in your absence.

An indication of why you’re unavailable. If you’re on vacation, let people know – they’ll be more likely to respect your away time. If you’re at an important conference or industry event, consider mentioning that as well. Business associates may be at the same event and can seek you out while there.

A clear explanation of your availability. There’s a big difference between checking email a few times a day and not checking email at all – so let people know exactly if and when they can expect to hear from you.

An alternative. Give clear direction as to who people can contact in your absence. Be sure to provide a colleague’s email and phone number – don’t forget the extension.

A solution for urgent matters. Consider leaving your mobile number for those who need to reach you in an emergency.

A date when you’ll be back in action. Let people know the date or time when you’ll be back and able to manage your email again.  

When executed properly, autoresponders can be a great way to reflect your professionalism and commitment to those you deal with. Spend a little time and put some polish on your next one—and don’t forget to turn it off as soon as you’ve returned.

Displaying blog entries 1-5 of 5