Protect Your Credit Report and Score: Do not Co-sign

When you co-sign on a loan you are equally liable (along with the primary borrower) to repay the loan.

I hear this all the time:

“But Patrick, I was just the co-signer, why is this hurting my credit score?”

“I never even drove that car, all I did was co-sign!”

“I was just trying to be helpful and now this is hurting my credit report!”

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Are You Alive? Yet Another Reason to Check Credit Annually

In every class I teach, I am always telling people about the importance of checking their credit report each year. Recently I had a mortgage client who had never checked his credit. He was confident everything was in good shape because he had not needed credit. I pulled the credit, he was correct about no debts, but he was being reported as deceased. Yes, deceased, no credit score, no credit history. This is not a problem for the deceased. However, this is a problem when you are alive and well. Continue reading

Credit Protection & Prevention: The Best Offense is a Good Defense

When it comes to credit, prevention and protection are the best methods to maintaining good credit. What that means is making sure the bad stuff never gets on there in the first place. Focus on prevention. One method of protection is to make sure your credit score is so high that if something does slip through the cracks it won’t be completely detrimental. Continue reading

Accounts in Dispute on Credit Report = BAD

Imagine going through airport security. Would you rather walk through the metal detector and be on your way? Or go into a small room for a slow in-depth search of you and your luggage?

For most mortgage applications the file passes through automated underwriting. A software approval of the information provided. The file moves through underwriting for verification of the information. Then to closing with relative ease. Much like the majority of passengers filing through security at the airport. Continue reading

How Will Future Lenders View me After Foreclosure, Bankruptcy, or Short Sale?

The Great Recession was hard for many consumers. People who had perfect credit experienced extreme credit issues for the first time in their lives. Overcoming the circumstances that caused the previous financial issues requires knowing what to expect when reapplying for a mortgage in the future. It is important to understand the process and be informed about details of the mortgage guidelines to become a homeowner again.

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How Long Will my Credit be Impacted After Foreclosure?

CREDIT has become the adult grade card. It opens and closes doors of opportunity and survival. For someone in a mortgage crisis it is more important to focus on closure in order to move forward. Once a house is foreclosed upon or sold in a short sale the healing process begins.

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Security Breach: What Should You Do?

Every week it seems like I read something about a security breach, whether it is a bank, government entity, store, university or hospital. The possibilities of a breach are endless. Criminals are grabbing sensitive information such as account information and social security numbers to commit fraud. The topic comes up frequently in my classes about credit. People want to know how they can protect themselves if they are part of a security breach.

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Employers Looking at Credit Reports of Job Candidates

One of the reasons I love teaching is the stories I hear in class. When I was speaking in a personal finance class at the Ohio State University a scenario came up that I have heard all too often. A student had applied for an internship for the summer. The hiring manager said he was the top candidate. There were just formalities including a background check before an offer could be made. The student signed an authorization form allowing the employer to pull a credit report on him. Within a few days the hiring manager called telling the student that the position was filled by a different candidate.

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