What a Credit Score Really Means

29 May 2015 · by Virtual Results PubSub

What a Credit Score Really MeansAs one of the least understood numbers Loftbuyers deal with, their credit score confuses many would-be buyers. So, what does your credit score really mean?

Firstly, understand that a credit score is not a credit score is not a credit score. Not only can your score change from scoring company to scoring company, within a single credit bureau your score for auto insurance or to buy a television, for example, may differ from your score to get a Loft mortgage or a car loan.

The three main credit bureaus, Experian, TransUnion and Equifax, offer the FICO score for consumers. FICO stands for Fair Isaac Corporation and a FICO score means a number determined using the calculating software provided by Fair Isaac. Your FICO score is the one lenders look at to determine if you’re credit worthy for a Loft loan. Using a snapshot of your current outstanding debt, open credit and a variety of other factors, FICO computes a number between 300 and 850 that comprises your score. Typically, the higher the score, the lower the risk.

When your score differs between the three credit-reporting agencies, the variances stem from the specific information reported to that company. So, at one company your score could be 685 and at another it might report as 725. Some lenders take an average of the three scores while others use just one to determine when to offer you credit.

Factors that impact on credit scores include your credit card utilization, payment history for bills where companies report, derogatory marks (accounts that may be in collection, bankruptcies, judgments and liens), the age of your credit history, the total number of credit accounts you have open and the number of credit inquiries you have. Of these, credit card utilization, payment history and derogatory marks have the highest impact on your score. The age of your credit history has a lower impact on your score, and your total accounts and credit inquiries impact the score to a lesser degree.

Some items impacting on credit scores are in your control while others may not be. For example, your open credit card utilization reflects a single moment that the card issuer reported to the bureaus. So, if charged a large transaction, but paid it off the end of the month, your credit score could reflect either the high usage or the paid off percentage depending on what time of the month it was reported.

On-time payments typically report at the same time each month. Making certain that you pay bills on time helps keep your score higher. Just one or two late payments make a significant dent in your score. Setting up automatic payments from the bill-pay option on your bank account takes away some of the risk of a lower score if you’re busy or forgetful.

You can’t always control the impact from the average age of open credit lines, especially if you’re young, so, once you open a credit line and pay it off, closing the account may not be in your best interest. Consider keeping your oldest line of credit open, even if you don’t use it.

Beware of hard credit inquiries. Every time you apply for an auto loan, a student loan, a business loan, personal loan, credit card or mortgage a hard inquiry point adds to your score. Multiple hard inquires indicate to creditors that you’re desperate for credit. If you’re planning to purchase a Loft, avoid buying a car on credit or opening credit cards in the several months or even the whole year ahead of applying for a Loft loan.

While you do not have the right to a free credit score, the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) requires that each credit reporting company—Equifax, TransUnion  or Experian—provide a free copy of your credit report once every 12 months, upon your request. Since your credit report does not contain your score, you may not know exactly what might hinder you from getting credit, but it offers you the opportunity to correct errors and to request a review of items you do not believe are yours.

On the other hand, you can pay to receive actual credit scores through a variety of providers. Some programs offer free scores (although not necessarily the FICO score) and allow you to track your progress over time with charts, graphs and suggestions for improving your score.

If you need to improve your score to be pre-approved for a mortgage, start now. Don’t wait.


The Best of Downtown

28 May 2015 · by ChrisSampaio


The Best of Downtown is here again. Please vote for us.

Go to Best of Downtown to cast your ballot. Christiano Sampaio entry is under Best Services, first category: Best Residential REALTOR!

Thank you!!!

What Matters Most? Why Location Trumps Everything!

22 May 2015 · by Virtual Results PubSub

Home Location

Take a lesson from that old real estate adage “location, location, location.” Many seasoned Loftowners will tell you that the size of your Loft and the amount of space you have—including extra living rooms, game rooms, or even acreage — becomes far less important to you in short order if the location is wrong.

Ask yourself these questions:

  • How long is my commute to work? At first blush, the thrill of ownership may overshadow a long commute. Eventually, however, many commuters begin to feel that their families get to live in the Loft and they just visit for a few hours in the evening and on weekends. If being part of family life is important to you, look for something closer to your work, even if it’s a little smaller.
  • Is it near to my children’s schools? As children progress through school, the number of activities for them to be involved in increases dramatically. If the commute to their school for ball games, drama club, band practice and the like is too long, either you’ll spend all of your family life on the road or your children may miss out on things that could be important to them.
  • How far away is shopping? Living on rural property or in a newer housing development may seem like the perfect opportunity, but if you run short on milk for breakfast, is it an hour round trip to the nearest market? Or, if you choose an urban condo for its great walk score to restaurants and nightlife, do you have to have a vehicle to drive just to find groceries? The inconvenience of far-away shopping affects the enjoyment of your new Loft.
  • Do I enjoy activities in the nearest community? Whether urban, suburban or rural, your connection to your community affects your satisfaction and contentment with your location. If you prefer the theatre, but live in a community that only celebrates agriculture, your quality of life may suffer. Conversely, if you love the great outdoors, but your city only offers indoor activities, you may need to rethink the location of your Loft.

Other considerations:

Of course, one of the biggest reasons to consider location is the future sale of your Loft. No matter how lovely your Loft is, or how perfect in every other way, its location can make or break a future sale.

But, if you’re concerned about the environment, the location of your Loft can leave a larger or smaller carbon footprint. An EPA study points out that a Loft’s location relative to public transportation, energy sources and the actual housing type significantly affect energy consumption.

Before beginning your Loft search, take time to reflect on what is most important to you. Then, let your real estate professional in on the secret. He’ll narrow his search to those locations that fit your needs, wants and desires best.

Should I Haggle Over the Price?

15 May 2015 · by Virtual Results PubSub

Should I Haggle Over the Price?Buying a Loft, especially for the first time, is emotional. You’ve saved and scrimped for months—years even—and now you’ve found the Loft of your dreams. You’re in love and you don’t want someone else to get it.

Joss Whedon, the mastermind behind Buffy the Vampire Slayer says, “Never sit at a table you can’t walk away from.” That is, don’t begin a negotiation if you’re not willing to say “no” if it doesn’t move in the direction you favor. The truth is…if you can’t walk away from that Loft, you probably won’t do well and may even give up more than you need to.

When you’re negotiating over the purchase of a Loft that you’ve become emotionally invested in, it’s more difficult to stand your ground or walk away when the haggling becomes fierce. To succeed in a negotiation, you need resolve based on facts, not emotions.

Base your resolve on knowledge of the market: knowing the market gives you the advantage moving on to another similar Loft if this one doesn’t work out.

Let your professional do the haggling: Your real estate professional knows which areas in the deal might be negotiable and which probably aren’t. She also knows, or can learn, more about the Loft’s situation.

  • Has it been on the market for a while?
  • Is it being sold by the former residents? Or, is it being sold by a nephew that inherited it? Is it part of a divorce? The more you know about the seller, the better you can judge if they’ll negotiate. Public records can give you some information about both the property and the seller.
  • Are there circumstances in the neighborhood that can give you wiggle room (i.e. a shopping mall going in near by, periodic odors wafting in the Loft’s direction a couple times a year from nearby industry)?
  • Know what the nearby comparable Lofts sold for and why (updated kitchen, new bath, in-ground sprinklers).
  • Ask! If you don’t ask, you don’t know. The more questions you ask, the more information you have to negotiate with.
  • Stick to the basics and don’t get hung up on easily changed decorations, appliances, carpeting or window treatments. You’re buying the structure.
  • Avoid contingencies. If you’re asking for concessions and negotiating the price, don’t expect the seller to agree to a contingency on the sale of the Loft you currently own.
  • Determine which is most important to you: location, price or size. Then, craft your negotiations around the on that is most important to you and your family.
  • Know if you’re in a buyer’s market, a seller’s market or a balanced market so you can tailor your negotiations to the market forces. In a seller’s market, try negotiating for simple additions to sweeten the pot, but don’t offer low-ball pricing unless you know the seller is in a distressed situation. In a buyer’s market, push for options on closing times, upgrades to flooring or appliances or keeping the patio furniture. In a balanced market, expect negotiations to take longer, or agree to things like splitting costs.

You want the seller to feel that he came out well, even if you win some concessions in the negotiations. When both the buyer and seller feel good about the transaction, the negotiations will be smoother and more positive.


Futuristic Kitchen Upgrades for your Loft

8 May 2015 · by Virtual Results PubSub

Futuristic Kitchen UpgradesA recent display at the Saloni design fair in Milan, Italy, featured parts of Concept Kitchen 2025, a collaboration between IKEA, the IDEO design firm and Swedish design students. Their exhibit showcases concepts from tables that double as computers and cooktops to food storage appliances that read RFID chips on food packaging that programs the correct storage temperature via “smart induction cooling technology.”

In addition to technological advances, the displays included more traditional and even ancient technology such as naturally cooling terracotta storage boxes for root vegetables, potatoes, garlic or onions.

Other technology included ingenious designs for collecting gray water to reuse for watering plants or pre-washing dishes, faucets that respond to the intensity of touch by increasing or reducing water pressure, and visible food storage that encourages healthful snacking.

Many of the designs promoted the concept of small but adjustable living. Since many people will live in cities where space is scarce, kitchens with adjustable to fit the needs of the user with more or less storage, changes in the height of shelving, expandable tables and other surfaces, and other options.

While these designs may be incorporated into future appliances and kitchen items, some items may be in stores sooner. Move over, Jettsons … check out these futuristic kitchen helps available now.

  • Minipresso: This miniature espresso machine can travel with you anywhere. It is lightweight, compact and operates by hand so it does not impact on the environment.
  • Indoor microgarden: Grow your own herbs without the dirt or mess in an origami-inspired paper gardening kit.
  • SpreadThat: An advanced butter knife that uses your body heat to soften the butter as it slices offers up the perfect spread.
  • Interactive Prep Pad: a scale and prep area that keeps track of nutritional values to help you reach your health goals.
  • Furtif knives: These laser-bonded, titanium carbide kitchen knives only require sharpening once every couple of decades or so.
  • WiFi enabled Crock-Pot: When timing is everything, this slow cooker allows you to control it from wherever you are via your 3G, 4G or WiFi enabled smart device. You can adjust the cooking time, the temperature or turn it off from wherever you happen to be, so dinner is ready right on time.
  • ChillThat icecream dish: A step of from frosty mugs, this cool number keeps your icy treat frozen while you eat it. The refreezable bowl and cover are composed of an engineered thermal absorption material that protects your ice cream while keeping it the perfect temperature.