With mortgage markets still tight, it’s more important than ever to have a good credit score. Having a good score not only increases the odds of being approved for a mortgage, but it can also affect your rate, as the best interest rates are generally reserved for applicants with top credit scores.
Many consumers aren’t knowledgeable about their credit scores—or what impacts them. More importantly, they may not be aware of the many things they can do to improve their scores. Here are some tips that could help boost your score.
Get a copy of your credit report. Review it carefully to ensure that it’s correct. If you find an error, contact the creditor to have it corrected. You can request a free copy of your report at http://www.annualcreditreport.com. Under federal law, you are entitled to a free report from each of the three national credit reporting agencies every 12 months.
Pay your bills on time. This is probably one of the most important—and simple—things you can do to improve your credit score. Just pay your bills by their due date. Consider setting up automatic payments from your bank account to help you pay on time.
Pay down your credit cards. Paying off your credit cards or loans will help increase your score, but so will paying down your balances. Try to keep your balances below 30 percent of your credit limit.
Avoid closing unused credit cards. The older your credit history, the better. So keep your older cards, and use them periodically to keep the account active. Just be sure to pay your bill on time.
Check your credit limits. If your lender has reported a lower credit limit than you actually have, your score will be depressed. Once the information is corrected, your score should improve.
For more tips on improving your credit, or for a referral to a mortgage lender in your area, call our CENTURY 21 Office today.
10 Safest Places to Live in the U.S.
A sense of security is one of the big reasons why people choose a home. Forbes magazine has created a list of the nation’s safest places to live by examining four factors: workplace accidents, weather catastrophes, crime rates, and traffic accidents.
The result is this list of top 10 safest metropolitan areas:
1.Minneapolis-St. Paul-Bloomington, Minn.-Wisc.
2.Milwaukee-Waukesha-West Allis, Wisc.
5. Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue, Wash.
6. Providence-New Bedford-Fall River, R.I.
7. San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, Calif.
8. New York-Northern New Jersey-Long Island, N.Y.-N.J.-Pa.
9.Cincinnati-Middletown, Ohio (tie)
10. Cleveland-Elyria-Mentor, Ohio/Denver-Aurora, Colo. (tie)
Economic forecasters predict that 2010 will be the first year since 2005 for housing to contribute to the growth of the U.S. economy, according to a survey released by the National Association for Business Economics. Home prices are expected to rise 2 percent next year, but forecasters don’t believe the increase in prices will discourage homebuyers. More than 80 percent of economists surveyed by the NABE think the recession is over and recovery has begun, but they expect the expansion to be slow because unemployment persists.