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  • What does FICO mean?

    • FICO is an acronym for Fair Isaac Credit Organization, hence the initials. Scores range from 400 to over 700 for great credit. Scores are based on the following factors:

      • 35% of the score is based on payment history. Late payments reduce the score of course.

      • 30% of the score is based on the amount of credit owed. Owing a great deal of money could indicate the person is over-extended and a poor risk.

      • 15% of the score is based on the length of time credit has been established.

      • 20% is based on whether the person is taking on new loans and if they have a "healthy mix of loans". This is why too many credit applications can reduce your FICO score.

  • How do I read my credit report?

    • Once you have your consumer credit reports in hand, you should review them carefully. The reports from each of the consumer credit reporting agencies differ in format, clarity and completeness. Some are easier to read and understand.

      There are several critical pieces of information you should check for in every report you receive:

      • Verify that all of the information about your identity is correct. Check to make sure there are no errors in your name, address, current employment and social security number, or in any other personal information such as your date of birth or the name of your spouse.

      • Make sure that debts charged to you are truly yours. Check to make sure that there are no accounts, debts, bankruptcies, tax liens or other judgments that do not belong to you or are still listed as open even though they have been resolved.

      • Make sure your payment history and balances are accurate.

      • Verify that errors you successfully disputed have been corrected.

      • Check that information is accurate and not misleading. Make sure that the status of your accounts is correct. Some accounts may be inaccurately marked as delinquent or in collections.

      • Make sure that your information reported by each of the three bureaus is complete and consistent.

  • How can I improve my credit report score?

    • To improve ones credit score under most models,  concentrate on paying  bills on time, paying down outstanding balances, and not taking on new debt. It's likely to take some time to improve score significantly.

    • Don't go buying furniture for your new home on credit shortly before closing. An institutional lender will re-check your credit score just before closing and these new items could mean you no longer qualify for the loan.

    • It can adversely affect your score if you close down several credit cards and consolidate them. Here's why:

      • Let's say you have 4 credit cards all with a $5,000 limit. You owe $1,000 on each. You are using 20% of your available credit. Now assume you transfer The balances of three of the cards to one of them and close the other three. You still owe $4,000. And you are within your $5,000 credit limit, but you are now using 80% of available credit.

  • What is equity?  

    • The word equity is described by the difference in the market value of the property and the owner’s mortgage debt for that property.