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Use Credit Cards to Improve Your Credit Score – Best Finance Network

Credit cards have become more expensive over the years and can cause financial problems for some if they aren’t used wisely. That doesn’t mean, however, that credit cards should be avoided.

With proper use, credit cards can help to improve your credit score. It only requires some common sense and a little discipline. Below you will find some good advice about how to use credit cards to improve your credit score.

Use Credit Cards to Improve Your Credit Score – Best Finance Network

It might seem counterintuitive to some, but having a few credit cards in your wallet to be used in a smart manner is an excellent way to improve your credit score. As you know, having a high credit score is one of the keys to a financially successful life, if your score is mediocre to low then you will have a harder time acquiring loans, and the payments that you will make will pretty much always cost you more in the long run.

Millions upon millions of people get trapped by credit card debt every year, simply because they do not use the cards in a fiscally responsible way, and this not only causes a large debt, but it also can have quite a few personal implications as well.

The first way a credit card can help is that it shows a credit history. Always try not to cancel any credit cards because you have decided not to use them anymore, a long credit history, even for a card that has little use is far better than one that is only a few months or a year along because you decided to close all your old cards from five years ago. Anything that is new will show up with an inquiry on your credit report, which will bring your score down a bit for at least a few months and maybe up to a year, so try to hang on to as many older cards as you can.
If you do have some of these old credit cards, focus on using them every few months to buy something, for example fill up your tank with petrol using one of these cards every 2-3 months. This way the card appears to be active on your credit history, but it will not cause you any sort of undue burden to pay off when the bill comes due.

Another way you can use a credit card to your advantage is to ask for higher limits. Especially on those cards that are older. Higher unused limits will always help increase your score, especially if you keep your credit card debt at or below about 35% of the limit amount. It also shows that the credit card company has found you to be a trustworthy customer who is capable of paying bills and not racking up large amounts of debt.

The most important thing, however, is to always pay your bill on time. The very best option is to pay your bill in full and on time, but at the very least always aim to pay above the minimum balance and before it’s due. Nothing will be able to improve your credit score if you have consistently late payments each month; that will actually hurt your chances of getting any sorts of loans or other credit cards in the future.

http://bestfinancenetwork.com/use-credit-cards-to-improve-your-credit-score.html

These tips are good for helping improve credit score through the use of credit cards. A good credit score is critical to geting the best interest rate on a mortgage, too. If you are considering getting a home loan or refinancing a mortgage, begin implimenting some of these strategies right away so that you can get the best rate possible.

To find out what type of home loan or mortgage refinance you can qualify for right now, contact one of our mortgage specialists for a confidential one-on-one consultation. SLS Mortgage in Culpeper can counsel you to help you get the lowest rate possible. Call us today: (540) 216-0665

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FHA Refinance Demand Doubles

HARP refinance programs are still an excellent way to help homeowners lower their monthly payments, even for FHA loans. In fact, costs to refinance FHA loans are down considerably and the process has been streamlined to make it much easier.

Below are some interesting statistics about the current refinancing market an it shows that with the incredibly low rates available right now, refinances make up more than three-quarters of all loan activity.

FHA Refinance Demand Doubles

Demand for FHA refinancing more than doubled last week, following deep reductions in fees charged for borrowers seeking a streamlined refinance.

FHA refinancing hit an all-time high last week, according to Mike Frantoni, vice president of research and economics for the Mortgage Bankers Association, which issues a weekly report on U.S. mortgage activity.

Despite the sharp increase in demand for FHA refinancing, total refinance activity for the week rose only 1 percent, as demand for both conventional and HARP (Home Affordable Refinance Program) refinancing declined. HARP refinances fell to 20 percent of all refinance applications, after holding steady at 28 percent of all applications for several weeks.

As of June 1, the FHA cut the one-time mortgage insurance premium charged on streamlined refinances to 0.01 percent of the loan amount, down from 1 percent previously, and reduced the annual insurance premium to 0.55 percent, down from 1 percent.

A streamlined refinance is a type of simplified refinance in which many of the usual requirements, such as appraisals and income verification, are not required. Generally, a borrower can quality as long as they already have an FHA mortgage and have remained current on their payments.

Meanwhile, demand for mortgages to buy a home fell by 9 percent last week, and was 2 percent lower than the same week a year earlier. Frantoni attributed much of the weekly decline to the effects of the Memorial Day holiday that week.

Refinancing accounted for 81 percent of all mortgage applications last week, up from 79 percent the week before. Only 4 percent of all borrowers sought adjustable rate mortgages.

http://www.mortgageloan.com/fha-refinance-demand-doubles-9095

Don’t let the great opportunities available for a great mortgage pass you by. Take advantage of the many programs designed to help families lower their payments. Contact one of our refinancing professionals about a HARP refinance today by calling SLS Mortgage of Culpeper (540) 216-0665

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ImpulseSave Wants To Make Saving Money A Habit, Opens Doors …

I found this article about an ingenious service that can help people save money. With the still struggling economy, we could all benefit from a way to help us save.

While this isn’t mortgage related, saving money is something that I think can help anybody. And, I can always suggest refinancing your current mortgage to take advantage of the incredibly low rates available right now (how’s that for a segway!). Read on…

ImpulseSave Wants To Make Saving Money A Habit, Opens Doors …

Companies and brands are always getting better at find ways to tempt people out of their money, and sometimes the siren call of those shiny new things are just too much to resist.

Massachusetts-based ImpulseSave has been helping to combat those urges for a few months now by trying to make saving money as frictionless and as gratifying as buying something. Now that service is poised to reach a larger audience, as the company has just announced that ImpulseSave is exiting its long-running private beta.

“People have this hardwired response to gather things, and we want to use it for good,” co-founder and CEO Phil Fremont-Smith said.

Of course, that’s much easier said than done. He feels that other personal finance products and services on the market are too focused on getting their users to stick to budgets and deny themselves things they want — in essence, they’re about getting users to change their behavior. While that’s arguably a good thing in the long term, ImpulseSave doesn’t aim to fix people. Rather, ImpulseSave wants to replace one form of immediate gratification with another.

Here’s how the service works. When a user goes to create a new ImpulseSave account, they’re also creating a new savings account with ImpulseSave’s partner, Massachusetts-based Leader Bank. Once that onboarding process is done, they’re asked to create a few goals that they would like to save money towards — think paying off student loans or funding a big family trip. From there users can set up an Auto Save, which transfers a set amount of money from their checking accounts to their ImpulseSave accounts at regular intervals.

Though some people may be wary of creating a completely separate savings account, that strikes me as one of the most crucial parts of the service. ImpulseSave makes it simple to dump all of a user’s saved funds back into their checking accounts if necessary, but taking that money out of a person’s normal cash flow means that it’s just that more difficult to spend on a whim. Some people may have the self-control to abstain from dipping into their savings to fund a questionable purchase, but that extra barrier could be enough to give a person pause before splurging on something new.

Should a user be struck with the urge to buy something when they know they shouldn’t, users can either use the recently-released app or fire off an SMS to transfer more money into their ImpulseSave accounts. In exchange, they’ll get a congratulatory pat on the back for making a smart move, in addition to a breakdown of how much closer to their goal that latest transaction put them.

“We’re marketing a user’s own goals back to them,” Fremont-Smith says.

It’s his hope that the satisfaction of making the right decision will be enough to offset the potential (and often short-lived) delight of buying something new. There’s a strong social element at play as well, as users can comment on other people’s savings transactions (though sharing those transactions is completely optional).

Relatively speaking, it’s still early days for the company — Fremont-Smith came up with the concept during the middle of 2011, and linked up with his technical co-founder John Mileham not long after that. For now, ImpulseSave gets most of their revenue in the form of commissions from Leader Bank for the savings accounts they open, but Fremont Smith and his small team have been looking at opening their service up to companies and brands for new promotions as a way for them to get in front of users while remaining on their side.

Now that they’re out of beta, the ImpulseSave team is hard at work on a handful of new features to make users even more aware of their financial situation — coming down the pipeline is a geolocation feature to warn users as they enter certain stores (or “danger zones”), as well as a browser extension to help users stay honest as they poke around online.

http://techcrunch.com/2012/06/19/impulsesave-wants-to-make-saving-money-a-habit-opens-doors-to-the-public/

I included a video above that I thought fit the theme of this article. There are some really good ways to save money if you just look for them. It does require some effort but the rewards can be quite substantial if you follow through with a plan.

Again, if you’d like to look into saving money on your mortgage payments by refinancing to today’s low rates, contact one of our professionals at SLS Mortgage today for a free mortgage consultation. (540) 216-0665

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Reverse mortgage can work well, when used properly

I found a good response to a common question that I get from people considering a reverse mortgage. There are many instances where a reverse mortgage would be beneficial and then there are some less-than-wise uses, too. Applying a bit of common sense is necessary to determine if your intended use is a good choice or not.

Below is some sound advice given in a Q & A format as well as a short video decribing the pros and cons of reverse mortgages. Read on…

Reverse mortgage can work well, when used properly

Q: Dear Rick: My wife and I are in our mid-70s and we’re having some financial issues. After reading your column, I decided to talk to someone about a reverse mortgage. Based upon my home, I can withdraw $120,000. Currently, I owe approximately $85,000 on my home. I have about $30,000 in charge card debt, which is at 18.5 percent. In addition, I owe about $35,000 in medical bills. I am paying 6 percent on that debt. What I am planning to do with the money is to first pay off my home and then the medical bills. I figure once those are paid off, I could then make extra payments on my charge cards. Do you think it is smart for me to use a reverse mortgage (I plan on being in my home forever)? Do you agree with my distribution of the money?

A: I do agree that a reverse mortgage is the right tool for you to use. It will immediately increase your cash flow because you will no longer have a house payment and you’ll reduce your other outstanding debt. I believe you’re using the reverse mortgage exactly as it was meant to be used. The only thing I disagree with you about is the distribution.

After you have pay off your mortgage, the next step should be to pay off your charge cards. My reasoning is that your charge card interest rate is 18.5 percent, while your medical interest rate is only 6 percent. To me, it is just a matter of good economics. Pay off your highest interest rate debt first. Then, with the cash flow savings from having no mortgage or charge card payment, you could use that to accelerate the debt on the medical bills. To me, this would be the most prudent use of the money.

For seniors, reverse mortgages can be a very valuable investment tool if used in the right situations. I’m not a fan of using reverse mortgages for things such as vacations or investing. I have seen some people get a reverse mortgage, then turn around and invest the money in something like an annuity. Although in many situations an annuity is a good investment product, I don’t think it makes sense to buy one with the proceeds from a reverse mortgage. After all, the interest rate on a reverse mortgage is higher than the interest rate that you’re currently getting on the annuity. Therefore, from a purely financial standpoint, it doesn’t make sense. A better strategy, as opposed to buying an annuity, would be to get a reverse mortgage and use it as a line of credit. In other words, you can get a reverse mortgage and you don’t have to take a lump sum; rather, you can have a line of credit to draw upon on an as-needed basis. To me, this would be a better strategy than using the proceeds to buy an annuity.

For seniors who are having some financial difficulty, a reverse mortgage is a great tool. Not only does it allow you to increase your cash flow by using the equity in your home, but it also provides some protection for you. Under the terms of a reverse mortgage, you can stay in your home for as long as you choose and you do not have to make any payments on the reverse mortgage. Payments are only due if you sell the house during your lifetime or upon your death.

Upon your death, your beneficiaries will have a couple of different options. They can choose to keep the home and pay off the reverse mortgage. They can sell the home and use the proceeds to pay off the reverse mortgage or, if the mortgage amount is more than the house is worth, they can just turn the house over to the mortgage company without any ongoing liability. Therefore, it gives the beneficiaries the options to make the best decision for them based upon the facts at the time. Read more…

There are certainly times when a reverse mortgage can be especially helpful to seniors. To get the most current information regarding reverse mortgages and to determine if it’s right for you, contact one of our specialists today for a free consultation. SLS Mortgage (540) 216-0665

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Five Ways to Gain From a Mortgage Refinance

With the lowest mortgage rates available in decades, there are many reasons to refinance. Refinancing your mortgage just to lower your monthly payment is only one of those reasons.

You could refinance to lock in a great fixed rate if you currently have an Adjustable Rate Mortgage (ARM). You could take out some of your equity to pay off higher interest loans and credit cards, car loans, etc… You could refinance just to shorten the length of your loan.

Below are some great examples of the many things you may want to refinance your mortgage for.

Five Ways to Gain From a Mortgage Refinance

Cut Rate and Term, but Not Payment

If you can handle the same monthly payment (or even a little more), consider reducing the term of the mortgage when you refinance. With rates so low, you might be able to get the same payment for a 20-year loan as your current 30-year mortgage. Shorter terms mean lower rates.

Chris Noke, a Manhattanite and a client of mine, traded in his 30-year fixed mortgage of $315,000 at 5.75% for a 20-year fixed-rate mortgage at 3.625%. His payment went from $1,838.25 to $1,847.17 (almost the same), but he eliminated eight years of interest.

Had Chris refinanced into a 30-year loan, his interest rate would have been 4%, and his payment would have shrunk to $1,503. He would have saved $300 per month, but his total interest payments over the life of the loan would have been higher.

Extract Equity

If you have big expenses in your future — tuition, medical treatment, or a family event (not a boat or a beach house) — you can borrow while rates are low. While refinancing your current loan, see what borrowing a few extra bucks would do to the payment.

Brad of Long Island, N.Y., refinanced his 30-year fixed-rate mortgage, halved the number of years, took out an extra $30,000 to cover his son’s future tuition and increased his mortgage payment by $211 a month.

Get Rid of an ARM

Change from an adjustable-rate mortgage, or ARM, to a fixed-rate loan while the rates are low, even if it means sacrificing a lower payment.

Adrianna has a condo in Manhattan with a 5/1 ARM at an awesome 2.875%. Her original mortgage amount is for $350,000, but she has paid it down to $280,000. Her monthly payment is $1,500, but the party is set to end in December 2013. Now, 20 months before the rate adjusts, she is applying for a $280,000 fixed-rate loan at 4% with the same monthly payment. By refinancing at the reduced loan amount, her monthly payment stays the same for the balance of the loan term.

Merge First and Second Mortgages

If you have two mortgages that, combined, are less than 80% of the value of your home, try a cash-out refinance to pay off the second loan. Your monthly payment will increase because you are paying more than just interest on the second mortgage, but if the prime rate goes up in a few years, you will benefit.

If the value of the home decreased and you have less than 20% equity, a cash-out refinance can be difficult to do. But you can refinance the first mortgage for 80% of the appraised value, and if you have cash left after paying off the first mortgage, you can repay part of the outstanding balance of the home equity line of credit. Then you can ask the HELOC lender to reduce your credit limit. A good loan officer can walk you through this tricky process.

Splitting a Jumbo Loan

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Credit and Getting a Mortgage – How to Improve Your Credit Score

Whether you’re interested in buying your first home or thinking of refinancing, your credit is critical to getting the best rate possible. And with the record low interest rates available right now, you’ll want to be sure your credit score is the best that it can be so you can take advantage of them. There are a number of things that you can do to improve your credit score and following is a great article that can help…

Credit and Getting a Mortgage – How to Improve Your Credit Score

There are three things that people think about when they are getting ready to qualify for a home mortgage.

These are income, assets and credit.

Credit more than ever is an integral part of how lenders see your overall profile when you apply for a home mortgage. Let’s go over what you need to know to increase the likelihood that you’ll qualify for a mortgage from a credit perspective. Whether you apply to purchase a home or refinance your existing mortgage.

In this article we’ll cover:

  • What a Credit Score is and How it’s Calculated
  • The Greatest Influences on Your Credit Score
  • How to Build a Credit History Even if You Don’t have a Score
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Credit and Getting a Mortgage – How to Improve Your Credit Score

Whether you’re interested in buying your first home or thinking of refinancing, your credit is critical to getting the best rate possible. And with the record low interest rates available right now, you’ll want to be sure your credit score is the best that it can be so you can take advantage of them. There are a number of things that you can do to improve your credit score and following is a great article that can help…

Credit and Getting a Mortgage – How to Improve Your Credit Score

There are three things that people think about when they are getting ready to qualify for a home mortgage.

These are income, assets and credit.

Credit more than ever is an integral part of how lenders see your overall profile when you apply for a home mortgage. Let’s go over what you need to know to increase the likelihood that you’ll qualify for a mortgage from a credit perspective. Whether you apply to purchase a home or refinance your existing mortgage.

In this article we’ll cover:

  • What a Credit Score is and How it’s Calculated
  • The Greatest Influences on Your Credit Score
  • How to Build a Credit History Even if You Don’t have a Score
  • <li style="padding-top: 3px !important; padding-right: 0px !important; padding-bottom: 3px !important; padding-left: 22px !important; border-style: init