Sunday, January 3, 2010
[content to be reviewed deleted]
What are your thoughts on this?
I want open and free commenting, no worry about feelings getting hurt. I'm purposely reposting this here because AR has been cracking down on insults and displays of intolerance, including suspension of members. I respect AR and don't want to put any members in jeopardy.
The floor is open!
Note: this is not an all-access blog. I asked friends and colleagues for their opinions, not the whole world. If you were not on my distro, your comment will not be approved. Sorry.
Tuesday, May 6, 2008
Wednesday, July 4, 2007
Friday, February 9, 2007
Our credit scores determine so much for us that one slip up and scores drop. But it’s not as simple as that – the fact is that the three major credit-reporting agencies, Experian, Equifax and Trans Union are not reliable. For the most part they are merely databases collecting information that creditors provide. So what if the creditors report incorrectly? Well, tough luck! The bureaus go by what they get from creditors and collection agencies.
But we can report errors, right?
Let me tell you what I found out the hard way. In layman’s terms, this is how the conversation goes:
Tchaka: Hey Bureau, Company X is wrong, I was never late on that account.
Bureau: Ok, we will investigate your claim.
Bureau: Company X, was Tchaka ever late on his account?
Company X: Yes, he was 30-days late in November.
Bureau: Thank you.
Bureau: Tchaka, we verified the account and you were 30-days late in November.
Ok, so it doesn’t transpire as a conversation, rather it’s a dispute, electronic transmissions and so forth. But the point I’m making is that the so-called dispute resolution is worthless. The vast majority of the time you get nowhere. One day I might blog about my grandfather’s Amex that showed up on my credit which I disputed. Equifax responded with a letter that says they verified the account and it is mine. Even though the credit report listed my DOB, the month and year the Amex was opened (4 years before I was born) and the fact that my grandfather was no longer alive – it even said account holder deceased on the report. But Equifax deemed it to be my account. Any more questions?
So what’s my secret? Go to www.creditboards.com and sign up. It’s that simple.
CreditBoards is a bulletin board that has sections including Credit, Mortgage, Automobile Buying/Leasing, Business Credit, Student Loans and so forth. Members share information on how to successfully deal with the bureaus, collection agencies, etc. The days of paying a company $400 to dispute your blemishes are over. The bureaus look out for frivolous disputes so save your money, get on CreditBoards and start reading. I cannot stress this enough. I have sent a number of clients there and will continue to do so. Other loan officers should do the same. Realtors, if you have a credit-challenged buyer, instead of dropping him, refer him to CreditBoards and revisit in 6-months. Chances are you'll be pleasantly surprised.
- Tchaka Owen
PS - Right after posting this, I noticed Julia Segovia (ActiveRain member) also posted on improving scores. Her post is http://activerain.com/blogsview/42875/Tips-for-Improving-your
Saturday, January 20, 2007
NY Times: Is It Better to Buy or Rent?
I am not suggesting it because I'm featured in it, rather it's an unbiased article by David Leonhardt that aims to help with making the decision. You'll see that although I am a proponent of buying, I nevertheless was featured as a renter - and my reason is explained.
In our business we want to get buyers, however I believe it's best to look out for a client's best interest. And in my opinion, the best is to help them decide for themselves which is best. And I often prescribe this article as a good read.
- Tchaka Owen
Thursday, January 18, 2007
How many times have you spoken with a person who has climbed out of a financial hole and closed a credit card (or two) in order to increase his/her credit score? I cringe every time I hear that! In most cases it does NOT help your credit score to close off your cards.
The exact formula for determining FICO scores are kept secret but we do know that cards affect those scores and one of the criteria is utilization. In other words, if you have a credit card with a $5000 limit and you’ve charged $4500 on it, it will affect you negatively in comparison to if you’ve only charged $1000 on it. So let’s go back to the when the person is in a financial hole – it’s likely that cards were maxed out. Once the cards are paid off, the utilization is excellent as far as the FICO is concerned. But if you close off the card(s) you now no longer have an underutilized card to help raise your scores. Yet so many potential borrowers are unaware of this.
I even spoke to someone recently who had been advised by one of those ‘credit assistance’ type companies to close off a card she had just paid off. How can such a company be allowed to operate? This woman’s scores would have likely been 20-30 point higher. Please advise your potential clients who find themselves in a similar situation to merely cut their cards but not to close them. Otherwise they’re doing themselves a disservice.
- Tchaka Owen
Wednesday, January 17, 2007
I understand the need to create a buzz when writing an article, however I feel some publishers mislead with their headlines. I wrote to Money once over a headline that did not in any way convey the message in the article. The author responded and informed me that the editors did that (I noticed a few hours it was changed). Just this morning I ran into another such scenario:http://money.cnn.com/2007/01/16/real_estate/December_foreclosures_up_from_2005/index.htm?postversion=2007011706
Look at that headline: Foreclosure rates up big in December
Menacing, isn't it? My first reaction was one of concern - as a loan officer, licensed real estate agent and investor, I prefer to hear positive news. Upon reading the article, I noticed that the second sentence read "The number of homeowners entering into some stage of the foreclosure process in December was 109,652, down 9 percent from November but up 35 percent from December 2005, according to RealtyTrac"
Sure the numbers are much higher than last December, but isn't it more important to look at the trend? The trend is that foreclosures are DOWN 9% from the month before. No wonder the public is on edge and rather scared to buy!!
- Tchaka Owen