Two Biggest Reasons for a Low Credit Score

I read a complex, detailed analysis explaining why more people in The South and certain other counties in California, Nevada and a few other random counties in North and South Dakota, etc. have the lowest credit scores in the United States.

It has nothing to do with race (which was super analyzed every which way).

Here are the two main reasons, with the first reason being the greatest and most common one:

    The inability to pay large medical bills that turn into collections and then devastate the credit score is Number 1.

    But wait, didn’t the credit bureaus remove unpaid medical bills from credit reports?

    Yes, but only those bills not over $500. More folks in The South have large medical bills exceeding that amount than people in the North. With the North getting this advantage and the South not, the gap becomes even greater. OUCH!

    Now we ask, why are the Southerners hit with more and larger unpaid medical bills?

    Could it be a combination of unhealthy eating and lack of physical exercise?

    In King County, Washington state, where I live, we are known for hiking, biking, outdoor sports and recreation, as well as healthy eating habits. (People here eat whole wheat bread, brown rice, steamed veggies, and avoid fried foods. I’ve never seen a restaurant menu that includes poutines, paczki.) Maybe that’s a clue for better health and fewer medical bills.

    The other factor is that states in the South have not adopted expanded Medicaid to take care of medical bills like most Northern states. This makes for a double-whammy: less healthy lifestyle results in more medical issues and then not as much help receiving financial assistance.


    According to people who live in the South, in certain areas, it’s common to see three, four, and five vehicles for one household. That adds up to a lot of automobile loans. But even worse…

    These people feel like they need to sport expensive vehicles. You’ll see someone in a mobile home with a $70,000 car or truck. It’s horrifying!

    Why do they feel the pressure to be seen in a fancy ride they truly cannot afford and that is (1) ruining their debt ratio and lowering their credit scores, and (2) disqualifying them to purchase a home which would increase their wealth and credit rating?

    I’ll tell you something personal.

    I would be embarrassed to own a vehicle that costs $50,000; $70,000; or higher. Why? Because it would be like wearing a sign that says I care more about social status than about caring for others. Why should I throw away money to puff up my own ego and then ignore the poor? My 7-year old Honda gets me places just as well as someone else’s $100,000 Tesla.

    If I were a multi-millionaire, which I am not, I don’t think I would want to flaunt my money anyway. I would think about how many more children in Ethiopia I could send to school so they break the chain of poverty.

    I would love it if you would weigh in on this topic by hitting the Comment button.

    If you would like to read the original article and see the map regarding low credit scores in the South and other random counties, see The Washington Post article, “Why the South has such low credit scores” by Andrew Van Dam here

    For a guide on how to repair your credit like the pros, see here.

Grants for Homebuyers (and what happened to that $25,000 first-time homebuyer grant)

What you need to know about government funding for a new home:

  • The federal government does not give housing grants directly to individuals. The funds are given to states and certain municipalities, who in turn, distribute the funds to the mortgage closing agent or attorney handling the close of sale.
  • No grant will cover 100%. There is no such thing as a free house. Instead, a grant covers the down payment (and sometimes closing costs, so you still need to get a loan for the rest of the price of the home.
  • The government will not give a grant to anyone who isn’t using it toward buying a home; therefore, you must qualify for a mortgage (often an FHA loan) to receive the grant.
  • To apply for a grant, you go through your local mortgage broker or mortgage lender. Your loan officer will get you qualified for the loan and the grant at the same time.
  • Federal grants for home buying require that you attend a homebuyer’s class. The classes are usually available online and your loan officer will give you the details on how to access it.
  • Many grants are not actual grants (not free money with no payback), but are down payment assistance programs. (DPA). The down payment is provided for you, but when you sell the property or refinance the loan, you must pay it back. The best DPA programs don’t charge any interest on the money, so you pay back the same amount you received — which can be done with the proceeds from the sale.
  • A down payment provided by a a DPA program shows up on your credit report and on title as a loan with no monthly payment.


The tricky thing about qualifying for a grant or DPA is that you can’t make too much or too little money. If your income is above the median income for your area, then it’s probably too high. But you must have the income needed to qualify for the main mortgage.


You must be employed for two years (or have college plus employment for two years). If you’re self-employed, it must be for two years. If you have a part-time side gig, you must have had it for two years and declare the income on your tax returns. Under-the-table cash earnings don’t count.

Your credit must qualify also. Often that means a middle credit score that is 620, with the lowest score of the three ignored.

What Happened to the $25,000 First-Time Homebuyer Grant?

The Downpayment for Equity Act of 2021, commonly called “The $25,000 First-Time Homebuyer Grant” was introduced as a bill in April 2021. It received a ton of publicity with articles by pretty much every financial writer.

However, the bill never made it out of Committee for voting by Congress. From what I can tell, the bill was not fully developed. It included nothing about how the federal government would get the funds to the individual states to pass on to mortgage closers. You can’t eat a pie if the ingredients are not stirred together and baked, right? So then when 2023 arrived, the bill automatically expired.

A new bill for a grant will need to be written and introduced, then passed into law. Hopefully, next time, it will be better written so that it doesn’t stall forever and then die.

To find out what specific programs are available in your own state, you can reach out to a local mortgage broker.

If you want to become a homeowner but you can tell from the information above that you don’t qualify, don’t give up. Make a plan for getting your credit and income on track, then stay true to your plan. If you could benefit from a big dose of inspiration and a lot of great financial tips, then I recommend Credit Repair Mindset, available on Amazon in both paperback and Kindle.

Available on Amazon

Insight from a Credit Bureau Agent

I had the opportunity to communicate with a former representative of one of the big three credit bureaus who is now working in the mortgage business. Our conversation turned to credit, of course.

I asked about a scenario where the person had good credit but one 30-day late payment had plummeted their credit score.

The person hadn’t meant to be late, but mistakes happen.

As a representative who read dispute letters and made judgment calls every day, how would she handle a letter that said the late payment was in error, that they paid their accounts on time, and that their credit was very important to them?

“How likely would it be for you to delete that late payment?” I asked.

Her reply: “Whenever I saw that the person had a good history of paying on time and there was only one late payment? Yes, I would delete that all day long!”

She went on to say that a low score due to one late payment was not indicative of the person’s credit habits, and that it was unfair to penalize them in a situation like that.

This is interesting, because the person who has a 750+ credit score, who accidentally accrues one 30-day late payment, is penalized much more severely than the person who has multiple late payments scattered all over their credit history. How is that fair?

The system thinks that if a person with stellar credit suddenly misses a payment, then a financial catastrophe has happened (like getting fired from their job with no savings to tide them over) and they are on the brink of many more late payments.

Is that assumption fair? I don’t think so, but that’s the way the system is set up. And not only that…

If a person with perfect credit has a late payment with one credit card, then their other three credit card companies may see that and assume the absolute worst. “Horrors, this person is about to go into complete default on our account! Quick, let’s send them out a notice of an increased interest rate asap!”

Friends, watch your credit. If you accidentally go one day past due, call the creditor immediately and ask them not to post the late payment on your credit report. They will usually charge you the late fee but agree to forego posting to the credit bureaus.

And if you happen to have a 30-day late payment on your otherwise beautiful credit report, send a customized dispute letter directly to the creditor pointing out how you like doing business with them and have always paid on time. If your letter reaches the right person, you have a very high chance of getting that late payment removed.

When the creditor instructs the credit bureau to delete a late payment, it happens pronto without verification required.

For more information on how to Repair Your Credit Like the Pros, see here.

Thank you for reading and recommending this blog,
Carolyn Warren

Credit Repair Law Change & My Intimidation

Credit repair specialists have been working tirelessly to get for-profit credit repair legalized in the state of Georgia. Details are below, but first, I have a confession.

I was intimidated, anxious, and worried about having an award-winning therapist and counsellor who holds a doctorate degree in psychology read and review my book, Credit Repair MINDSET. I mean, how could I possibly deserve an accolade from a woman who was voted “Best Mental Health & Counseling” for two years in a row? Who was featured in Psychology Today Magazine?

Wouldn’t she think my writing was so simplistic it deserved zero to one stars? I’ll admit I was scared when she got my book.

Here’s what she wrote on Amazon:

I am humbled and very grateful, to say the least!

Would you do me a favor? If you like this review, would you please go to the Amazon page here and click the HELPFUL button? It would mean so much to me to have her review upvoted.

BREAKING NEWS! Georgia Credit Repair Law

Yesterday, February 1, 2023, bill H.B. 187 was introduced into the Georgia House of Representatives. The House Bill is to legalize for profit credit repair in the state of Georgia. The bill is in the hopper and will be assigned to committee shortly. The bill was sponsored by both Republicans and Democrats making it a bi-partisan effort this year.

First, the bill must pass the house by March 6, crossover day, to be moved to the Senate. Second, the bill must pass the Senate by March 29, the last day of the session for this year.

To track the bill, here is the link:

Many thanks to Matt Liistro, Georgia Credit Repair Trade Association, for this pertinent news!

The Perfect Credit Dispute Letter

If you want to see a real life example of the perfect response to your dispute letter, look below.

This letter was sent to me by one of my readers who used the Debt Validation Letter in Repair Your Credit Like the Pros to remove an old and unfair collection account.

The account had been sold by his former apartment landlord to National Credit Systems, Inc.

They could not provide the specific items requested in the Debt Validation Letter, so this was their response.


What’s Changed About Credit Card Rates (and what to do about it)

Yesterday, I was interviewed by Kathleen Doler, a writer for Investors online. With the information she gathered from several experts, she put together an excellent article that was published this morning.

The last half of the article is where she quoted from our conversation. I thought you would be interested in the statistics and in the advice. Who wouldn’t want to save $7,000 in credit card interest payments?!

To read, click here.

You CAN Improve Your Credit in 2023

Hard times don’t last forever, and neither does bad credit. You can take steps to overcome mistakes of the past and raise your credit score — starting now.

Can bad credit really be removed from a credit report? Look at this letter Peggy B. sent me. This was a collection account with Verizon — deleted!

This is from an email I received in 2022:

“My name is Robert R. and I purchased Repair Your Credit Like the Pros. I have had fantastic results using your advice and instructions. I’ve had numerous old collection accounts removed from my credit report, and I am pleased to report that my score has increased from about 500 to 700 or so today.”

Ron H. wrote:

“TransUnion has removed 11 derogatory accounts from my credit report profile with them!!!!!!!

“All my debts have been settled and negative tradelines have been removed. I negotiated my final debt of $2,388 for a settlement of $597 (25% of balance owed) and a “Pay for Delete” of the negative tradeline. As always, YES, I did get everything in writing BEFORE paying the debt.”

Adam D. wrote:

“My Experian score has officially increased 100 points as of today.”

How did these people improve their credit so much, so fast?

  1. They ordered their credit reports via USPS mail, as in Chapter 2.
  2. Peggy used the Credit Investigation Form that comes with the letter packet included in the book.
  3. Adam and Ron used the negotiation strategy in Chapter 15.
  4. They all used the list of what to do first, second, third, etc. in Chapter 24.
  5. They all followed the guidelines in the book for establishing positive credit.

Don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t improve your financial situation, your credit, or reach your goals. Who are they to forecast your future and say you cannot do something? Tell them this:

Your opinion is not my reality. (Quoted from Steve Maraboli.)

When I hit my personal bottom and lost nearly everything in my life, I did not wallow in the mud. I got myself to the bookstore and went home with a bagful of hope. I literally read my way out of a pit of poverty and darkness — of course, by taking actions after reading.

My story is in Credit Repair Mindset Journal. Inspiration is in Credit Repair Mindset. The roadmap and all strategies are in Repair Your Credit Like the Pros. How to go from zero to a top tier credit score in the fastest amount of time is in Build and Protect Your Credit Like the Pros. All are available on Amazon.

All credit improvement emails are shared with permission from the book readers.

Make 2023 your best year yet! May God bless your journey.

Government Grants for Free Houses & 2023 Interest Rate Forecasts

My friends in the mortgage business are receiving lots of phone calls and emails from folks asking about the free grants from the U.S. government (and other sources) for getting a home.

There’s a website with a .gov domain that looks like it belongs to the U.S. government. On the website, many grants are offered — everything from real estate to education to business start-up money. Wow, who can’t use some free cash to make their dreams come true in 2023?

Here’s the TRUTH:

  • There are no free houses from the U.S. government. The closest thing is a program through Habitat for Humanity, which does not give you a zero cost house. You must work alongside volunteers in building the home, and at the end, you get an affordable mortgage (which is not zero payment).
  • The website is actually owned by one individual who lives in California but has the business registered in Delaware.
  • This look-alive website makes you pay a fee to get their list of resources. The fee doesn’t seem so bad, but what you might not realize is that they continue to automatically charge you monthly.
  • They won’t refund all your money unless you provide a rejection letter from a company, which is a bit of a hassle on your part.
  • There are complaints with the Better Business Bureau; however, the company is not registered with the BBB.

    GOOD NEWS that is REAL:
  • You don’t need 20% down to buy a home. There are 3% down, 3.5% down, and 5% down loan programs.
  • If you are a U.S. Military Veteran, there is a $0 down VA loan you can obtain through your local mortgage broker.
  • If you are purchasing in a non-metropolitan area, there is a USDA (United States Dept of Agriculture) loan that is 0 down. You can obtain it through your local mortgage broker.


One self-proclaimed guru has predicted a return to 5% this spring for 30-year conventional loans; but he’s only right about half the time, so we shall see. No one knows what will happen this year, just like no one knew rates would rise so extraordinarily fast mid-2022. So take the forecasts with a grain of salt. I’ll be watching for that spring prediction and comment on it then. I hope it’s true, but I’m not holding my breath.

What would you like me to write about in 2023? I am open to your suggestions. And thank you for reading and subscribing. I do my best to help people stay in the know about credit and home buying and save money.

Who’s Getting Worse Customer Service?

In a shocking admission of truth — according to DSL Reports — Cable One fully admitted that they provide worse customer service to people with lower credit scores.

CEO Thomas Might said at a JP Morgan Global Technology conference that their cable company’s support staff is not going to spend 15 minutes setting up an iPhone app for a customer who has a low FICO score.

Legal or not, like it or not, Cable One (who services about a million people) made it known that a variety of companies are getting more skilled at using data to identify consumers with credit challenges and low credit scores so that they spend less time and resources servicing them.

I’ve written a lot about how having a good credit rating gets you respect in the business world. This is one real life example of that happening. It might not be legal, but it is life.

It’s not going to do much good complaining about it, so instead, take action to raise your credit profile, increase your credit score, and gain the respect you know you deserve.

It’s quick and easy to pick up one great guide and one great boost of inspiration: HERE and HERE

You are worth it!

Source: National Credit Care Newsletter to Mortgage Brokers 11/9/2021

Is Now a Good/Bad Time to Buy a Home?

If you’re wondering whether or not this is a good time to buy a house, here are four considerations to help you decide.

1) Is your income secure so that you’re not concerned about being laid off after your purchase closes?

2) What is the trend for real estate values in the County where you live? It is very different from one state or region of the U.S. to another.. You can go to and type in an address (or select an address from the listings in the city you search), then look at the Market Value page.

Notice that this first one I searched shows the value trending downward. It also showed that the seller recently reduced the price from its original listed price..

But this second home I searched shows the value still going up.

Very interesting, right?

3) You might consider a 2/1 Buydown. That is a loan where the seller can give you a credit to buy down the interest rate. It is lower by 2% the first year, then by 1% the second year, then goes to the full interest rate. The idea is that in two years, the rates will be better and then you can refinance. BUT, will the rates actually be lower in two years? No one knows for sure. In some areas of the country, this is a very popular loan and the sellers are paying for the buy down fee; but in other areas of the country, the sellers are not, so then it’s too expensive to be of value for most buyers. You will need to discuss this with your local mortgage broker for what’s happening in your area.

4) Even though interest rates are higher than last year, the home prices are lower in many parts of the country; therefore, with a lower purchase price and smaller loan, your payment might not be much higher than it would have been last year. But again, that depends on where you are buying.

I hope these four considerations have given you something to explore for your area, and then you can make a good choice for yourself. 

Personally, I am a huge fan of home ownership; but I am also a fan of buying a home you can afford so that you don’t become a slave to your mortgage. If you can find a property you will like to keep for at least five years, then it usually makes sense to purchase and begin to accumulate equity and grow your real estate wealth. Especially if your rent is as high or almost as high as your home loan will be.

What’s Coming Up

I am putting the finishing touches on a new book for homebuyers. The cover is still with the design department. All the information in it is brand new and current for 2023. Subscribe to this blog to receive a notification when it is released. (January)