When I was young and naive, I thought having a credit card was synonymous with being a mature adult. Unfortunately for me, but fortunately for the retailers I frequented (I’m looking at you, Target), I was just a little too naive to handle the responsibility of actually having one.

Fast-forward to purchasing a car on my own after college and realizing that credit cards (and how you treat them) will come back to haunt you. Maybe not today, or tomorrow, but when you go to buy a car or even a house, you can bet your less-than-positive credit habits will show up in the form of increased interest and more conditions.

Have a sneaking feeling you might need to help your credit score move in the positive direction? Here are five ways to get the ball rolling.

Understand credit score basics

When you’re buying a big-ticket item like a home, and assuming you’re going to need to finance at least part of this purchase, one of the first things lenders will do is pull your credit report.

The credit report used for mortgage loans is a combined report with information from three credit bureaus: Equifax, Experian and TransUnion, and helps to give lenders a clear picture of how responsible you are with handling borrowed money.  Each bureau provides slightly different information that is then merged into one report, and your credit score is the middle score (not the average) from the three reporting credit bureaus. Your score will be a number between 300 and 850, with most scores ranging from 650-800 – the higher the better.

If you’re new to this whole credit thing, you likely don’t have a credit score just yet. Generally, you’ll need to have one account open for at least six months or longer for credit bureaus to be able to calculate a score for you.

Keep an eye on your credit

If you haven’t checked your credit report in a while or ever, it’s a good idea to get the lowdown on your stats. Pull a detailed report annually— free of charge— from annualcreditreport.com to get a clear understanding of exactly what you’re working with. Once you’re brave enough to take a peek at your detailed report, carefully examine the report to make sure nothing stands out to you as fraudulent. If you don’t recognize personal information, payments that have been marked as late, or credit that’s been opened in your name, it’s time to get to work and clean up your credit.

Pay your bills … on time

The quickest way to sink your credit score is to act like due dates are merely suggestions. Just one late payment over 30 days will stay on your credit report for seven years. Ouch. The good news here is that mortgage lenders can pick up on your credit patterns: A few late payments are not likely to derail your chances of getting a mortgage, but several late payments in your recent past? That might not bode so well. The moral of the story here is to pay your bills on time, every time.

Reduce your credit borrowed

Have one card with a staggering balance? Practice the snowball method: Throw all of your extra cash towards that card while still paying the minimum balance on your other cards. Once the high-balance card is paid off, start in on your second-highest card balance. Because credit card utilization is an important factor in calculating your credit score, you’ll want to keep your credit card balances under 20 percent once you’ve completed the snowball method. Need some tips on saving money so you can tackle this faster? We’ve got you covered.

Don’t throw away history

You might think you’re “cleaning up” your credit by getting rid of cards that have taken up space on your report since Boy Meets World was the highlight of your Friday night. But you’re oh-so wrong. You might be surprised to find out that your length of credit history, coupled with the amount of credit you’re currently on the hook for, make up a whopping 30 percent of how your score is calculated. On the flip side, if you don’t have a lengthy history with the shiny plastic, don’t think you can create it overnight and open up an account with every retailer you do business with— this signals red flags to lenders.

 

Ashley Bryant
ASHLEY BRYANT

Ashley Bryant is a writer covering all things real estate. She resides in Charlotte, NC

Sept. 22, 2017

Fall Can Be a Great Time to Purchase a Home...

for so many reasons!

One reason can be seen in the price of homes. “Median sales prices typically decline a bit heading into the fall,” says Danielle Hale, realtor.com®’s chief economist. “Summer is a big time for home purchases, so that families settle in before school starts in the fall. In the fall, the types of homes that sell are smaller for people without kids. So they tend to be less expensive.”

Another reason to think of buying now are the mortgage rates available. Home buyers may find attractive mortgage rates this fall. Mortgage rates are still under the 4 percent psychological threshold, which can be a luring incentive for borrowers. Freddie Mac reported last week that the 30-year fixed rate averaged 3.78 percent, holding steady at a 2017 low.

When it's time for your next purchase, call us! You can trust The Yukich Team to take good care of you and your family!

Posted in Real Estate
Aug. 16, 2017

7 Ways to Save for a Down Payment

Remember when Mom used to say “Don’t sweat the small stuff?” Well, when it comes to saving money, Mom was actually wrong— it’s the small stuff that really makes a big difference.

And if you’re buying a home, you’ll need some cash. Just how much dough you’ll need to come up with, though, depends on how much you want to put down. Today’s mortgages offer qualified buyers the option to put down from as little as zero to 20 percent.

Never been a self-proclaimed penny pincher? No problem! Here are some easy (and painless) ways to save a buck or two.

Set a budget

Without a budget, your finances have control over you instead of the other way around. No need to rush out and buy budgeting software (you’re trying to save money, remember?!) Just open up an Excel spreadsheet and get to work. Put all necessities down first. After you’ve done that, establish a savings goal and then, and only then, budget for non-necessities. Like to shop? Set a realistic budget for your retail routine and stick to it. Don’t forget to budget for things like going out to eat, too, because those outings can add up quickly!

Round up

Sign up for a banking program that automatically rounds up your change into a savings account. You know what they say— “outta sight, outta mind.”

Cut it out

If you take an inventory of your last month’s bank statement, chances are you’re spending a lot of money on going out to eat or grabbing a coffee on the way to work. Stop it. Or at least curb those habits considerably and you’ll be amazed at how much you’ll be saving. 

It’s all about the points

Don’t be jealous of your jet-setting friends’ Instagram feed. No need to take a break from exploring the world when you can travel for free with credit card points. 

Lower your interest

Student loans hampering your saving efforts? Look into consolidating or refinancing your dues to translate those savings into more cash that you put directly towards your goal. Likewise, stop paying outrageous credit card interest percentages and initiate a balance transfer on credit cards that offer zero percent APR.

Welcome the windfall

Grandma just sent you a birthday check? Got an unexpected bonus at work? Found $20 on the side of the road? You know the drill. Put it away before you’re tempted to blow it.

Increase your income

Besides cutting out necessities, there’s no quicker way to watch the Benjamins stack up than to add a part-time or freelancing gig to your resume. If you’ve got a driver’s license and a dependable car, you can work for UBER when it’s convenient for you. If you can write or are a whiz on social media, you can likely score a side-hustle relatively easily. Or go old school and pick up a few babysitting (or pet sitting, for that matter) gigs. It all adds up.

Thank you to Allen Tate Mortgage for providing this information. For answers on mortgage questions, contact Allen Tate Mortgage (mortgage.allentate.com) or Amy Osborne at HomeBridge Financial (www.homebridge.com)

Posted in Real Estate
July 26, 2017

Look Who's #1 -- Again!

Certain towns define themselves through their outdoor activities and their open-air cred. Hanalei, Kauai, has its waves. Boulder has its slopes. Durango has its trails. And you? You have two weeks of vacation a year and a yearning for outdoor living that persists for the other 50.

So what's keeping you from enjoying the al fresco life year round? Well, there's the oft-mountainous prices of homes in those outdoor meccas, for one. And then there's the pesky fact that they're mostly located in the Western half of the United States, quite possibly far from your life and your chosen career.

But we're here to tell you: You can have it all—an affordable home in a centrally located metro where adventure-filled days, nights, and weekends aren't far from your back door. So we hit the trails to find America's hidden outdoor meccas.

This city in the northern part of South Carolina is growing by leaps and bounds, but still manages to maintain its otherworldly natural beauty.

One of Greenville's biggest treasures is Falls Park, a 32-acre outdoor oasis on the Reedy River in downtown. Created in 2004, the park features art galleries on the water, a suspension bridge, outdoor theater performances in the summer, and, of course, waterfalls. Another is the Swamp Rabbit Trail, a 19.9-mile greenway that spans several nearby cities and travels through the city.

Those looking for something a bit larger can check out the Nantahala National Forest and its gorgeous waterfall hikes just over an hour away. The oft-overlooked Congaree National Park, which offers canoeing, hiking, fishing, and camping, is just two hours to the east.

To see the whole article as featured on Realtor.com downtown Greenvilleand read about the other great places to live, click:

The 10 Best Affordable Outdoorsy Cities

 

Jan. 13, 2015

Greenville Top Destination Spot

Denmark. Egypt. Greenville.

CBS News travel editor Peter Greenberg gave Greenville quite the shout out during an appearance on "CBS This Morning" Saturday. In a segment on top travel destinations of 2015, Greenberg featured Greenville (OK, we'll say it — #yeahTHATgreenville) as a top U.S. spot, calling it "the new Austin."

Greenberg highlighted the city's rapidly growing dining scene with 100 new restaurants opening along Main Street in the last two years, hiking and biking options, and affordability.

Los Angeles is the only other U.S. city to make the list.

At the first mention of Greenville, Greenberg says it's a destination that "may surprise you." Maybe it shouldn't?

Jan. 13, 2015

Fastest Growing States

South Carolina added more than 60,000 new residents to reach a total population of more than 4.8 million. That put the Palmetto State's growth rate among the top ten fastest-growing states nationally.

Posted in Real Estate
Jan. 13, 2015

Lots Of People Moving To South Carolina

The latest evidence that South Carolina is drawing people from other states comes from United Van Lines, the big moving company, which found that the Palmetto State was one of the most popular destinations for its customers moving within the continental United States during 2014.

United's latest study of who's moving where ranks South Carolina No. 2 among contiguous states and Washington, D.C., for the percentage of inbound moves.

Out of 4,088 household moves to or from South Carolina that United handled last year, 2,512, or 61.4 percent, were inbound.

Posted in Real Estate