Short Sales and Credit Scores

There are many events in your life that could negatively impact your credit score.  One of those events that I often deal with is the short sale of your home.  A short sale, essentially, is when a person sells their home back to a mortgage company for less than what they paid for it because the home is now worth less than it was when it was purchased.

A short sale will negatively impact your credit score.  The amount of impact varies from person to person and from situation to situation.  However, everyone’s score will be negatively impacted, and one of the most common questions I get is “How do I improve my credit score after the short sale?”

Improving one’s credit score will take time – there is no “quick fix.”  But by focusing on certain aspects of your credit, you can try to lessen the blow.  Here is a look at how your credit score is comprised, and tips on how to utilize this information so that the short sale does not have as much of an effect:

Payment History
35% of your credit score is based on your Payment History.  Even if you are unable to make your house payments, try to make at least the minimum on your credit cards and other loans you may have.  This will make the impact a little bit less harsh

Amounts Owed
The next largest part of your Credit Score is the amount you owe – 30%.  If you decide to do a short sale and cannot pay your mortgage, try to put some of that extra money towards paying off your credit cards or car payment.  The less outstanding debt you have, the better, and the best thing you can do for your credit score is to pay your accounts off as soon as you can.

Length of Credit History
It may be tempting to close your credit cards once you start getting into financial troubles, but 15% of your credit score is based on how long you have had your accounts open.  If you can manage your accounts, it is best to keep them open.  This does not have as much impact as your payment history or the amounts owed, but it is the third largest portion.  If you are having troubles keeping up with the minimum payments and you have high interest rates, the creditor may offer to lower the APR if you close the account.  This will impact your credit score, but it may be the best option if it makes the payments more affordable.  Be sure to weigh the pros and cons; if you are afraid you will be late, that will have a higher negative impact than if you close the account.  But if you can afford the payments, and keep your account open, that will actually help you increase your score.

New Credit (10%) and Types of Credit Used (10%)
If you open several new credit accounts in a short amount of time, that is a red flag – It signals to the Bureaus that you are in financial trouble, because you need to borrow money.  Also, different kinds of credit have different effects – Retail accounts are not looked at as favorably as, say, a car loan.  If you are having financial difficulties, opening new accounts will not help you improve your score, and will most likely have a negative impact.

These are some ideas to keep your short sale from impacting your credit score as much as it could.  If you would like some more information on your credit score and how it is formulated,  click here for more information at MyFico.com.  You can also give me a call at (910) 622-0319 or  email me by clicking here.  As a short sale expert, I’ve helped people in many different situations.

Clearing your debt…..

Millions of Americans set a goal for and succeed in paying off their credit card debt each year- is this one of your goals? With a little determination and a plan, you can take control of your credit and improve your credit score in the process. Here’s how: but please watch this video……Just to add some humor

Cut the Cards
The First step toward reducing your credit card debt is to stop adding to it. While you don’t have to literally shred your cards, you do need to stop using them routinely. Try one (or all) of the tips below to break this habit:

Carry Cash- Give yourself a weekly cash allowance for expenditures. You’ll be more aware of how much you actually, spend; plus once you run out of money, you’re more apt to stop spending.

Use debit, not credit- For times when only plastic will do, use your debit card instead of a credit card.
Out of sight, out of mind- Keep your credit cards at home and you’ll be likely to use them.

Think strategically- Decide on two to four credit cards with which you have a lengthy, positive history, and close any other accounts. Having a few good accounts will boost you credit score, but having too many will hurt it.

Lower Rate/Cut a Deal
Once you’ve got your spending under control, focus on reducing your interest rate.

Negotiate rates- Call up your credit card issuers and ask for a better rate. Explain that you plan to transfer the balances to another card unless your rate is lowered. Usually, borrowers with good credit scores can cut their rate by a few points- sometimes as much as 10%.

Transfer Balances- To a different card. Look for offers with low introductory rates that are good for at least a full year, with relatively low rates thereafter. Read the fine prints and pass up offers from cards with hidden fees or cost.

Shop around- Do a little investigative work to find the best card offers. Use the internet to research and locate current offers.

Reduce Your Dept
Now it’s time to start chipping away at those balances. Develop a strategy and make it happen, using the following tips:

Sort it out- Make a list of each credit card you have, its existing balance, minimum payment and interest rate. Use either of the online calculators listed here to help you determine which card to pay off first.
Quicken: Http://www.quicken.com/planing/dept/

Develop a plan- Pay as much as you can on your card with the highest interest rate, while paying the minimum on the other cards. This additional payment on the high-rate card will help to pay off the principal faster.

Build debt snowball- Once you highest interest rate card is paid off take the same amount you’ve been paying on that card and add it to the minimum payment on the card with the next highest interest rate (this is commonly referred to as “snowballing” or a debt-reduction rollover of your payments). Continue to pay the minimum on the remaining accounts, repeating the process until you’re dept-free.

Having a back-up- Keep one low-interest card put away for emergencies but maintain a zero monthly balance at all times by paying it off when due.

Think Ahead
Now that you’re dept free, start thinking even further ahead:

Invest- Begin to invest the same amount of money you’ve been applying to dept every month. You’ve trained yourself to live on less by paying as much as possible toward your debt each month, now take that philosophy and use it to your advantage, reinforcing that thrift must continue in order to develop a mindset of abundance.

Visualize- Spending a few moments each day imagining what it will feel like to be debt-free, paying cash for every purchase and look forward to a comfortable retirement.

Please join me next week on How to Manage Your Credit Score or just click here!

By: Nilesh Jethwa
Posted By Nilesh Jethwa
Source Buffini and Company

Nilesh Jethwa is a local real estate agent in Wilmington, NC. If you would like to contact Nilesh Jethwa click here!!