A LIST TO GET YOU STARTED…
(BOLD PRINT INDICATES I HAVE USED THEIR SERVICES MYSELF)
www.AnnualCreditReport.com Free Report from each of the 3 bureaus once per year
https://www.lendingtree.com/free-credit-index Free Credit Scores
We do NOT endorse LendingTree as a Recommended Local Lender
www.CreditKarma.com Free Credit Score and Tips to improve your credit
www.CreditSesame.com Free Credit Score and Tips to improve your credit.
https://www.capitalone.com/credit-cards/secured-mastercard/ Secured Mastercard
http://www.republicbank.com/home/personal/cards/credit/secured Secured Mastercard
We do NOT endorse Republic Bank as a Responsible Lender, but these programs are tools that may be used to increase your scores and the opportunity to be approved for a loan with those listed below.
Mark Atteberry, Louisville Market Realtors 502-224-1039
Josh Price, Envoy Mortgage 502-627-1926
Billy Cooper, Greg Jones Home Inspections 502-429-9379
Jason Lewis, All Check Home Inspections 502-425-7055
Bill Troutman, Certainty Home Inspections 866-417-9591
Ralph Hall, Bug Detectors 502-491-3148
Jessica Talley, Nationwide Insurance 502-937-1353
Kentucky Farm Bureau 502-935-0809
State Farm Insurance 502-271-3211
John Coffman Jr, Allstate 502-935-5000
Larry Allen Heating & Air 502-419-4259
ASI Plumbing 502-271-1331
Durbin Electric 502-442-6388
$180 Dumpsters 502-552-9126
Dolores & Nedia General Contractors 502-301-0695
Affordable Appliance Repair 502-933-4705
Cesar de la Torre 502-650-5813
Case Foundations 502-367-7706
Champion Waterproofing 502-493-4822
OTHER SERVICE PROVIDERS
Connie Oliva Henken, Tax & Bookkeeping 502-937-8006
Derby City Security 502-364-8879
Home Security www.SimpliSafe.com
LOUISVILLE MARKET REALTORS AND MARK & PAULA ATTEBERRY ARE NOT DIRECTLY OR INDIRECTLY AFFILIATED WITH ANYONE LISTED AND THEREFORE DO NOT ACCEPT ANY RESPONSIBILITY DUE TO THE ACTION, INACTION OR NEGLIGENCE OF ANYONE LISTED ON THIS PAGE. EACH PERSON IS RESPONSIBLE FOR DOING THEIR OWN DUE DILENGENCE PRIOR TO HIRING A CONTRACTOR OR SERVICE PROVIDER.
5 SIMPLE STEPS TO
IMPROVING YOUR CREDIT
BEFORE WE START understand that the credit score is gauging your predictive behavior based on current and past performance. Once you understand that you can see why it is critical that you don’t do anything to jeopardize your score going up.
This means: Don’t open any new charge accounts (other than the secured one mentioned here). Don’t buy or lease a new car. Don’t become late on ANY account. Don’t let any account go to collections (work out a deal, make payments…anything but get another hit on your credit before closing). Don’t get a forcible detainer (eviction), tax lien, foreclosure or file for bankruptcy. If any of these things happen, you will be starting over a lot worse off than where you are now.
- STOP THE BLEEDING. You should not go into credit repair if you cannot meet your existing obligations. You must be current on all your bills NOW before we can start the process. If you are not current, save this for later and concentrate on getting additional income, selling what is not affordable, or selling other possessions to pay off your past due balances. The core will always return to a BUDGET that you prepare to know what is needed to meet your obligations, what you have coming in and how much you have to spend on other goods & services or fun things each and every month.
- If your goal is to improve your credit for the purpose of buying a new home, I recommend going to www.LendingLouisville.com and letting Josh Price and his team run your credit and give you the best game plan for improving your credit in the fastest way possible. If you are not ready to pursue a home purchase, skip this step and follow the rest of the directions.
- Get a copy of all 3 credit bureaus. It’s important to understand that every creditor subscribes to the credit bureau that they wish to put your history on. Bigger companies (mortgage, credit cards) likely report to all three. Smaller companies (medical, utilities) often report to just one or two. Get all 3 for free at www.AnnualCreditReport.com. It is recommended that you get your credit scores as well. You can may have access to one or two scores through an existing credit card perk, if not, you can go to https://www.lendingtree.com/free-credit-index or www.CreditKarma.com. PRINT THESE OUT. If you don’t have a printer go to the public library. This is too complex to try to read on a screen.
NOTE: I only recommend the lender you see on the last page. My rule has been that you should work with a LOCAL lender. When things get complex it will mean the world to you that you can sit down and have a conversation across a desk. I do not recommend www.Lendingtree.com or www.Bankrate.com due to their high turnover and inability to communicate face-to-face. Although we NEVER get a referral fee, we interviewed each lender and chose to work with them because of the way they do business, their integrity and honesty. You don’t know who is on the other end at these internet lenders.
- Now that you know where you are and what is factoring into it, you can start working on it. THIS IS GOAL-ORIENTED ADVICE. This information is solely based on getting someone approved for a mortgage. I recommend that people don’t use debt, PERIOD. Having said that, if you are going to borrow for your home, as most people do, you have to play the game to show the lender that you are a reasonable, good risk. If you don’t have at least 3 things reporting MONTHLY that show you can pay your bills on time you need to get them. The easiest way is through a SECURED CREDIT CARD. Republic Bank offers that program as does Capital One. It works like a debit card off a savings account. You put money into the account and then use it to buy gas or groceries. Once a month, you will be billed to replenish the account. PAY THIS ON TIME, IN FULL MONTHLY. You do not want to mess this part up. By paying the balance in full you avoid the interest payments and don’t lower your score by going over 25% of your available credit. Republic requires $350 to open the account. There is a $50 annual fee. Capital One has a lower amount. Both have high interest rates if you carry a balance.
- Now, start reviewing the credit bureaus you have. There are numerous things that go into the algorithm that makes up your score. What counts the most the last 24 months. The more recent, the more impact on your score. The higher the score, the more of an impact a misstep is going to make. (ex. A person that has a 720 score that misses a credit card payment can expect a 50-100 point drop, while a person with a 580 score that misses another payment may only be impacted 20-50 points).
- If there are multiple items that don’t belong to you or you no longer owe, I recommend disputing those, along with the evidence (if any) that you don’t owe the debt, as quickly as possible. It can take 30-60 days for removal, but true mistakes can be the easiest to deleted.
- If you have negative credit hits in the last 24 months start with the lowest amount and pay, offer a settlement or dispute each item. ONLY start the process for as many as you can pay or settle IMMEDIATELY. YOU DON’T WANT TO AWAKEN EVERY BEAR IN THE FOREST AT THE SAME TIME. Chip away at this as quickly as possible.
- ONLY DO THE MOST RECENT 24 MONTHS. Once you have cleared up all the recent stuff, you will want to review your score and see where you are. Paying old debt can actually LOWER your score. It works off the most recent date of activity (I know some sites say it doesn’t, I’m just right in saying it certainly can). When you pay a 5 year old debt it can take a date of last activity from off the radar and make it current. Not good.
- Bankruptcy or foreclosure over 3 years is usually of little consequence. Just move on.
- Tax Liens, Judgments or other civil actions. These are going to HAVE to be paid or released prior to getting a home. SOME “CREDIT REPAIR” COMPANIES SAY THEY CAN REMOVE THEM. The truth is, removing them raises your score, BUT that is of no use because right before closing they will “run title” on YOU. That means a search will be performed on your social security number at the courthouse to see if there is are any liens or judgments owed by you. In that case, it doesn’t matter that it wasn’t on your credit because it will still kill the deal until it is paid.
- When you make the decision to purchase a home, please contact Mark Atteberry at 502-224-1039. We will help you apply with a mortgage company, get your pre-approval in hand and then Go Shopping for your new home!
We know the process can be difficult if not confusing at times. We are here to help. For the sake of timeliness, please email any questions you may have to mark@LouisvilleMarket.com. I will answer your questions as quickly as possible. PLEASE refer to this cheat sheet prior to emailing. I have included as much detail here as possible without overloading you. This will help everyone by letting me answer as many questions as possible.
A FINAL THOUGHT:
For many years I have lived with the mantra that a “house should be a blessing and not a curse”. I am aware that there are short cuts, gimmicks, even scams that promise to do these “fixes” incredibly fast and with no effort.
I did not want this to be EASY. I intent to show it is ATTAINABLE. Home ownership is a benefit and a by-product of hard work, planning, honesty, and fiscal responsibility. Simply put, it is something that everyone who is responsible SHOULD be doing.
I understand irresponsibility better than most. My wife and I lived in the attic of my great-grandmother’s house for a year as we saved every penny we could to put a down payment on a home. During that year, I worked hard to right every wrong I committed as a young teenager in a world of credit card debt and student loans. I know where you are and I know what I’m talking about.
It may take sacrifice, phone calls and letter writing but when you get the keys to your very own house, you fire your landlord, you paint the walls whatever color you want without asking permission, you write off the interest on your taxes, invite friends over for a pool party or just relax on your front porch, you will know you have it because you earned it. And I’ll be proud of you and happy for you.
There is help…down payment assistance programs, grant money and tax rebates (that most will say don’t exist any longer). And our lenders will see to it that you have every advantage that you qualify for. Just do your part on the credit and we’ll take care of the rest!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Mark Atteberry is the Principle Broker for Louisville Market Realtors, a family business, where he works with his wife, Paula (also a Realtor) and two daughters, Abigail (photography/social media) and Karissa (signage/client relations).
He has extensive financial experience with 12 years in financing, including his years as a loan officer at American Dream Mortgage. He is well-versed in credit repair and keeps abreast of opportunities for first time buyers.
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