The average credit score is 703.*
In the mortgage home buying world, 703 is meh. It’s good enough to get a conventional loan (which is better than FHA), but a 703 score does not qualify for the best and lowest 30-year fixed rate.
For the best interest rate, you need a score of 740+. Some lenders will reward you with an even better rate if your score is in a 780 tier or 800 tier. Those are the lenders that cater to the creme de la creme borrowers.
In 2013, the average credit score was 691. Scores have been trending upward since then.
The graphic at top right shows the average score by age group.
The state with the highest average credit score is Minnesota at 733.
The state with the lowest average credit score is Louisiana at 677.
Some people have taken the steering wheel and boosted their scores by 50, 80, and even 100+ points. I’ve seen a score increase by 58 points in two weeks when the person paid down two high balance credit cards.
There are several ways to increase your score, and it all starts with paying every bill on time–every time.
The fastest way to increase your score is to lower your balance-to-limit ratio.
One way to hurt your score without knowing it is to open a new revolving credit card when you’ve already got two good cards open.
Another way to get blindsided is by not monitoring your automatic payments. I saw a person’s score knock him down by 50 points, because he didn’t know his student loan had been sold and his bank didn’t send the auto-payment to the new creditor. When he called to get it straightened out, the representative told him not to worry, they weren’t reporting him as late. But that turned out to be a lie. His credit report showed a brand new late payment, which cost him thousands of dollars in interest payments.
Having a high credit score also affects your auto insurance premium. Many drivers have no idea they are being charged more on their auto insurance because their credit scores are not top tier.
We are now in 2020. This is the time to take control of your credit. Grab a quick, easy read here so that you are smart about credit. Being smart about credit is being smart about money.
I don’t know anyone who has money to waste, do you? Make 2020 your year for excellence!
*(2019 second quarter, FICO8 Scoring Model) Experian Source here
All the experts have weighed in with their predictions for 2020. Here is a quick summary of the consensus.
MORTGAGE INTEREST RATES will remain low and fairly flat with daily and weekly ups and downs according to the market.
The 30-year fixed rate for people with excellent credit (740+ score) is slated to be about 4%, but if you go to a mortgage broker instead of a direct lender, you may be able to get 3.75%. This is because brokers shop wholesale for you, which is a big advantage over direct lenders’ retail rates. APR (annual percentage rate that factors in certain costs) would be about 3.85% or 4.125%. APR will vary according to fees and interpretation of the APR law.
HOME REAL ESTATE VALUES will increase moderately, partly because the low interest rates makes for more affordability. In many areas, there is an increased population of home buyers, which also drives up prices.
Spring is the most popular time to buy and sell real estate, so if you purchase a home now in winter, chances are that you will pay less than if you wait a few months.
BOTTOM LINE FOR YOU is that now is an excellent time to become a home owner. Or, if you already own a home, it’s an excellent time to move into one that is more suitable to your needs. You can get great loan pricing and increase your wealth through real estate.
Have a wonderful and prosperous 2020. Happy New Year!
Is 2020 going to be your year for better credit? Will you buy a home in 2020?
If so, here is a list to get you started in the right direction.
BETTER CREDIT IN 2020
- I will pay all bills on the same day they come in.
- I will set auto-pay dates for earlier than the last date (when errors can cause an unfair late payment).
- I will keep all credit card balances below 50% of the limit at all times.
- I will buy only what I can afford to pay in full when the bill comes. (No more carrying balances and wasting precious money on interest.)
- I will not engage in so-called “retail therapy” or shopping out of emotion, which is an unhealthy financial habit.
- I will not take a loan with a finance company.
- I will not do any type of business with a “payday” type of loan.
- I will have credit in my own name and remove myself from piggyback credit on parents or strangers.
- I will remove myself from co-signed loans. I will not co-sign for anyone, ever, for any reason.
- I will take joy in nature, friendships, family, and God rather than in material possessions that I cannot truly afford.
Have a happy and blessed New Decade!
Below is the chart for VA loans closing between 2020 and 2028.
Most VA loans have a funding fee that is rolled into the loan.
Veterans who received a Purple Heart and veterans who were disabled during service pay no funding fee.
The percentages are based on the loan amount. For example, if you purchase a $300,000 home with zero down, and you are using your VA benefit for the first time, the funding fee is 2.3% of $300,000 = $6,900.
Therefore, your loan will be $306,900.
Here is the chart for the VA Funding Fee 2020:
Jesus Is Born
2 At that time the Emperor Augustus ordered a census of the Roman Empire. 2 This was the first census taken while Quirinius was governor of Syria. 3 All the people went to register in the cities where their ancestors had lived.
4 So Joseph went from Nazareth, a city in Galilee, to a Judean city called Bethlehem. Joseph, a descendant of King David, went to Bethlehem because David had been born there. 5 Joseph went there to register with Mary. She had been promised to him in marriage and was pregnant.
6 While they were in Bethlehem, the time came for Mary to have her child. 7 She gave birth to her firstborn son. She wrapped him in strips of cloth and laid him in a manger because there wasn’t any room for them in the inn.
Angels Announce the Birth of Jesus
8 Shepherds were in the fields near Bethlehem. They were taking turns watching their flock during the night. 9 An angel from the Lord suddenly appeared to them. The glory of the Lord filled the area with light, and they were terrified. 10 The angel said to them, “Don’t be afraid! I have good news for you, a message that will fill everyone with joy. 11 Today your Savior, Christ the Lord, was born in David’s city. 12 This is how you will recognize him: You will find an infant wrapped in strips of cloth and lying in a manger.”
13 Suddenly, a large army of angels appeared with the angel. They were praising God by saying,
14 “Glory to God in the highest heaven,
and on earth peace to those who have his good will!”
15 The angels left them and went back to heaven. The shepherds said to each other, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see what the Lord has told us about.”
16 They went quickly and found Mary and Joseph with the baby, who was lying in a manger. 17 When they saw the child, they repeated what they had been told about him. 18 Everyone who heard the shepherds’ story was amazed.
19 Mary treasured all these things in her heart and always thought about them.
20 As the shepherds returned to their flock, they glorified and praised God for everything they had seen and heard. Everything happened the way the angel had told them.
There are four categories of debt:
- Oral Agreements
- Written Contracts (medical debt, typical collection accounts)
- Promissory Notes (car loans, student loans, installment loans)
- Open-ended accounts (credit cards)
Each state has it’s own law that dictates how many years a creditor may collect. It’s also called the Statute of Limitations.
However, even if a debt is past the legal date, bottom-feeding collectors will persist in trying to get money out of you. That’s why it’s good to know the law in your state.
If you’re in Alaska, Arkansas, Mississippi, or Nevada, the limit for collecting on an Promissory Note is 3 years.
If you’re in Ohio, it is 15 years. Wow, what a big difference!
Here is a chart for each type of debt and the Statute of Limitations for each state.
Would you like to know how the certified credit repair professionals get the debt removed from credit reports? If so, then you’ll want to order a copy of Repair Your Credit Like the Pros here.
Last month, I was recorded for an episode of “On Everyone’s Lips.” Today, I am sharing three of those credit tips with you.
O.E.L.’s goal is to teach techniques and strategies.
O.E.L.’s mission is to inspire listeners.
Here are 3 Tips from the show:
- What debts should be tackled first?
It’s best to pay down any and all revolving debts first. Credit cards have a higher negative impact on your credit because they continue to affect you for longer, as opposed to installment loans like student loans and auto loans that have an end date.
Pay down your credit card debt first. Generally, it’s best to start with the card that has the highest APR/interest rate. The more you pay on interest, the more money you wind up paying in the long run.
2. What are some ways to maintain good credit?
Never shut down all of your cards. Closing your credit card accounts means that nothing is actively reporting to the credit bureaus. Eventually, that closed account stops helping your score. When there is no score to report and you have no credit history, then you will pay more for a home loan and other financing.
If you use a credit card once or twice a year, then the creditor won’t shut down your card.
3. What is the best way to obtain your credit report?
The best way is to write a letter to the address below and request a copy of your free annual report. Avoid using the online credit report request, because in so-doing you agree to waive several of your rights when you check the box agreeing to the terms and conditions. It’s always best to put everything in writing. Use the good, old fashioned USPS mail, even though it takes longer than the online system.
Annual Credit Report Request Service
PO Box 105281
Atlanta, GA 30348-5281
For the complete podcast, see here.
Thank you, Mr. Khari Harrigan, podcast producer and manager, for inviting me on your show.
Thank you, O.E.L. team Lindsey J, Chelsea Jade, and Monique Knows aka Mo for the interview.
Very near the equator where the sun rises at 6 a.m. and sets at 6 p.m. 356 days a year, there are villages where people live in thatch and mud homes barely large enough to shelter a sleeping family. They cook by fire and farm by oxen. They gather sticks and carry 50-lb stacks on their backs to sell at market in order to survive. In this place, something wonderful has happened.
Ethiopians are telling other Ethiopians about a newfound joy, the joy of knowing Jesus in a personal way. Their lives are being changed from male-domineering-sometimes-abusive into compassion. One of these villages has been praying for a neighboring village for 10 years, and now those same villagers are finding faith in Christ.
In one village there are now 88 Believers who gather to worship. They sit on plastic jugs or on the ground under a tree. They have no protection from scorching heat or rain. They need a church. Moreover, in their culture, what makes a religion valid is a church. They are accustomed to prayers in a mosque. Socially, without a church, you are nobody. Friends have told them, “If you get a church, that is when I will come and pray with you and join your faith.”
To build a church, they need land. A prominent Ethiopian, an Influencer, has come to salvation—and he brought his family of 24 into the faith with him. This man has donated land for the purpose of a church. The problem is, there are no funds to build a church nor means to earn funds. How much does a church cost?
$7,000! That’s right, only $7K will build a church that will change the course of a village. Less than what most of us pay for our cars.
I am donating 100% of my royalty income for November and December from my two bestselling books to fund a church for these dear people. However, my current monthly is not enough. And this is where I need your help. I am asking you to hit Share on Facebook to pass on this information so that people who need the information will order a book.
Repair Your Credit Like the Pros has 412 reviews with an average of 5 stars. Everyone who needs to fix their credit can benefit. (See Amazon)
Build and Project Your Credit Like the Pros is for young people starting out, immigrants, and anyone else who wants to go from basic-to-expert and a 800+ credit score in record time.
All November and December profits brought in by these books will go to build a church in Ethiopia. It is high time that prayers sent to heaven for 10 long years get answered!
If you know someone who could use it, why not purchase a book as a gift for them, knowing you will be helping families living far, far below the poverty line?
Thank you for considering being a co-partner with me in this worthy endeavor.
For our U.S. Veterans, we give you our respect and honor.
I would like to dedicate this verse to the men and women of the United States Military, both past and presently serving:
Be strong and courageous.
Do not be afraid;
Do not be discouraged,
For the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.
~ Joshua 1:9
* * * *
Tomorrow, I will make a major announcement. Please come back or subscribe, because it is both important and interesting.
Thank you, Carolyn Warren
“After we signed escrow documents, we noticed that the fee was more than we were told. Can we rescind? Can we ask the lender to delete the fee? Can we choose a different lender?”
If your loan is a refinance, you have three days after signing to rescind or cancel. One of the documents you sign in a refinance explains this and even includes the date by which you have until midnight to cancel. Simply sign that rescission notice and scan/email/fax it to your lender. This cancels your loan completely and enables you to renegotiate or even go to a different lender.
If your loan is a purchase of real estate, then no, you cannot cancel after signing final loan documents. Nor do you have the legal right to ask for any changes in financing. Why?
Because you received the Closing Disclosure three days before signing. The law gives you that time ahead of signing to ask questions and request any needed changes.
This is a good lending law, because it gives time for corrections and still close on time, according to your Purchase Contract, and without negatively impacting the seller.
Additionally, when you are at the signing table, you can stop, pick up the phone and call your loan officer. If there are errors, the loan officer can get those pages corrected, often while you wait; or worse case, by the next day.
You can stop signing, stand up, and walk out. Don’t sign contractual documents with the wrong interest rate or incorrect fees.
Don’t sign without looking at what you are signing!
If you don’t understand something, call your loan officer and ask before placing your signature on the line. One of the pages you sign says you have read everything, agree to it all, and understand what you’re signing. So you cannot later claim you didn’t understand.
There is plenty of opportunity to read the documents and ask questions, and it is your right and responsibility to do so. Never let anyone bully you into signing something you don’t like or understand.
If you have any questions about this, please reply in comments. As always, thank you for reading.