Archive for February, 2010

YOU AND YOUR CREDIT (FICO) SCORE

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 FICO scores measure the risk that an individual will default by evaluating their history of credit management. The exact formulas used are top secret but FICO has given the following components and the approximate importance of each:

35%- Payment History. Late payments of bills such as Mortgage, Credit Cards, Car loans etc will lower a person’s FICO score . Paying bills as agreed over time will improve the score.

30% – Credit Utilization. The ratio of current revolving debt (Credit Card and Charge Account balances) to the total available credit (Credit Limits). Consumers can improve their FICO scores by paying off debt and reducing balances to less than 50% of the available credit. Closing existing revolving charge accounts can have a negative effect on this ratio, and lower your score. Before closing accounts be sure to do some more research, or get qualified advice.

15% – Length of Credit History. Time improves FICO scores without any action other than paying all bills on time.

10% – Types of Credit Used. FICO scores are improved by having a good history of managing multiple types of credit (Installment, Revolving, Consumer finance etc).

10% – Recent Credit Applications. Multiple requests to obtain new credit over a short period of time can hurt an individual’s FICO score. However, individuals shopping for the best rate for a Mortgage or Auto Loan over a short period will not see any negative impact on a FICO score.

For more detail on this and other Credit Related questions the following link is a Gold Mine of factual information.

http://www.myfico.com/CreditEducation/

CHOOSING AN AGENT

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There are many different Business Models in the Real Estate Industry. Here’s just a few examples:
 
1. Buyer Only Brokers.
 
2. Buyer Rebate (“Kick Back”) Brokers.
 
3. Virtual Office Brokers. No physical location.
 
4. Reduced Commision Brokers.
 
5. Fixed Price Brokers.
 
6. Transaction Facilitation Brokers.
 
Etc, etc.etc ad infinitum.
 
All of these and many more are proof that we have a lot of competition in our business, and that the Consumer (Buyer or Seller) has lots of choices.
 
I won’t try to explain the pro’s and con’s of any of these options, but will strongly suggest that whichever of them you choose, you consider working with a REALTOR. My reason for this specific advice is as follows:

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1. There are more than Half a Million Licensed Real Estate Agents in California. This is the minimum required qualification for the job.

2. Only 165,000 of them are REALTORS who have voluntarily agreed to subscribe to a strict Code of Ethics, and are paying members of their Local, State, and National Associations of Realtors.

Amongst many other services Realtors provide to the public is the web site Realtor.com. the most popular of all on-line Real Estate sites. Check out http://www.realtor.com/.