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By Jean-Paul Commisso | Broker in Dix Hills, NY
  • What Impacts Your Credit Score? Take This Quiz and Find Out

    Posted Under: Home Buying, Financing, Credit Score  |  April 3, 2013 10:53 AM  |  45 views  |  No comments

    Do You Know What Impacts Your Credit Score? Take This Quiz and Find Out

    According to credit experts, 42% of U.S. consumers have credit scores between 550 and 699. As a result, these consumers typically don’t qualify for preferred interest rates and, depending on their overall credit profile, they may not even qualify for certain loans and credit cards.

    I have worked with many clients throughout my years in the business and have seen first-hand how credit scores can wreak havoc on securing a favorable mortgage. Most clients we work with don’t have a clear picture of what impacts their credit profile and, more importantly, don’t know what steps they can take to help improve it. We find this short quiz, from credit consultants ApprovalGuard.com, to be immensely helpful when it comes to understanding how your credit profile works. Take a few minutes to see if your credit knowledge is up to par.

    1. To have the best credit-profile impact, what is the maximum amount of your monthly credit line that should be used?
    a) 70%
    b) 30%
    c) 50%

    2. What is the number-one contributing factor to a good credit score?
    a) Length of credit history
    b) Amounts you owe
    c) Payment history

    3. If you pay 2% each month on your credit card (typical minimum payment), when will you pay off a $3,000 balance at 10% interest?
    a) 18 years
    b) 6 years
    c) 3 years

    4. After paying off a high-interest credit card, you should:
    a) Continue using it occasionally
    b) Close the account
    c) Use the full amount of available credit every month

    5. Applying for credit cards in order to just receive a free sign-up gift (t-shirts, mugs, etc.) has no impact on my credit profile?
    True or False

    6. Rewards points on credit cards are a good deal when:
    a) I get cash back
    b) I get free airline tickets
    c) I carry no balance each month

    7. To have a credit score, I must have at least one creditor reporting activity on my credit report for:
    a) 12 months
    b) 8 months
    c) 6 months

    8. Credit bureaus that manage your personal credit report data and credit scores are a:
    a) Government entity
    b) Non-profit agency
    c) Regular business corporation

    9. Banks and credit card companies think you are creditworthy by how many credit offers you receive by mail?
    True or False

    10. Credit scores are used by lenders mainly to:
    a) Tell how I compare to other consumers
    b) Tell if I make my payments on time
    c) Predict the likeliness that I will repay my loan on time

    Answers: 1 – c, 2 – c, 3 – a, 4 – a, 5 – False, 6 – c, 7 – c, 8 – c, 9 – False, 10 – c
  • From Gloom to Bloom: Expecting the Healthiest Spring Season Since 2007

    Posted Under: Home Buying, Home Selling, Foreclosure  |  April 2, 2013 10:31 AM  |  46 views  |  No comments

    From Gloom to Bloom: Expecting the Healthiest Spring Season Since 2007

    Freddie Mac recently released its U.S. Economic and Housing Market Outlook through March showing that as we head into the spring home buying season, continued low mortgage rates, increasing house prices, and gradually improving consumer confidence will help support increased home sales. A short preview video and the complete March 2013 U.S. Economic and Housing Market Outlook are available here [2].

    Outlook Highlights

    • Compared to 2012, expect home sales to be up 8 to 10 percent for 2013.

    • Expect housing starts to increase to 950,000 units for 2013, compared to 780,000 in 2012.

    • In 2012, real estate added $1.5 trillion to balance sheets, and residential mortgage debt outstanding increased by 0.1 percent in the fourth quarter of 2012, indicating household deleveraging might be drawing to a close.

    • Because of sequestration spending reductions, expect the unemployment rate in 2013 to average about 7.8 percent, essentially flat for the year or about 0.25 percentage points higher than it otherwise would have been.

    • Regardless, the housing wealth effect is taking hold in the broader market which should translate into the healthiest spring home buying season since 2007.

    “History shows us not all economic recoveries are created equal and consumer confidence mirrors this fact,” says Frank Nothaft, Freddie Mac vice president and chief economist.

    “With the spring home buying season upon us, the recent highs in the stock market are a welcome signal of better times ahead. But it will be the gradually declining unemployment rate and steadily improving housing market that will deliver broad-based economic benefits for Americans and, in turn, support the overall recovery.”

    For more information, visit www.FreddieMac.com [3].


  • Buying a Foreclosed Home? Things To Look Out For

    Posted Under: Home Buying, Foreclosure  |  April 2, 2013 9:45 AM  |  86 views  |  No comments

    Buying a Foreclosed Home? Top Problem Areas to Look Out For

    Today's real estate landscape offers some great buys for savvy real estate consumers, especially when it comes to foreclosure properties. Unfortunately, even though there are already a large number of foreclosures on the market, analysts are predicting that yet another wave of distressed properties will crop up in the coming months.

    I have listed and sold many Bank Owned "Foreclosed" properties  While a foreclosure could represent your best chance to get a great deal, make sure you educate yourself about the potential pitfalls of purchasing a distressed property in advance - and what correcting those pitfalls might cost. In most cases, it's not so much about what damage occurred but rather the source of the damage and how long before the problem was addressed.

    Here are the top 10 signs that may indicate trouble in a foreclosed home:

    1.   Unheated house in winter months. If the home has been properly winterized, there's no need for heat. But if the home has not been properly winterized, pipes will burst and cause water damage.

    2.   Missing sinks, toilets and other fixtures. Make sure they've been properly removed and not ripped from walls and floors.

    3.   Peeling, bubbling and discolored paint; swelling in walls or ceilings (especially around kitchens and bathrooms), or a musty odor all indicate water damage and, potentially, the presence of moisture and mold.

    4.   Fungus growth inside cabinets, behind drawers and built-ins. Fungus could mean that there has been water damage. Since water falls down, look for the source above the mold.

    5.   Blocked drains or pipes will cause future problems and may have already created sewage backups.

    6.   Black cobwebs, greasy gray residue on walls and/or a strong oily odor. This could point to potential soot damage or a malfunctioning furnace.

    7.   An older home with extensive renovations. Check with the city for pulled permits in order to get remolding details. If asbestos is present and has been disturbed, be sure it's been remediated by a certified specialist.

    8.   Excessive painting of every nook, cranny, door and floor may mean that the seller is covering up mold.

    9.   Discolored subflooring. From the basement, check the subflooring above for stains and small holes, both caused by mold.

    10.  Air quality. The air quality within a home tells a lot about the home's condition. Be sure to include air and surface testing in your home inspection. It's a few hundred dollars well spent.

    There are indeed many great opportunities in today's market, but proper education and preparation are essential to making the right investment. Please e-mail me for further information and be sure to forward this article to others who might be considering a foreclosure purchase.

    Jean Paul Commisso
    Licensed Real Estate Broker
    Distressed Property Expert
    Charles Rutenberg Realty Inc.
    516-316-4332 Mobile
    516-495-9114 Office
    866-403-5215 Fax

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