Why You Should Choose A USDA Renovation Loan

USDA Renovation Loans

If you’re thinking about purchasing a new home through the USDA Loan Program, you may have other options! While you can easily just buy a home that is not in need of any repairs, the USDA Renovation Loan Program allows you to add a few more possibilities for purchasing homes, as long as they are in an eligible rural location. Unlike other loan programs, the USDA Loan Program has an eligibility criteria for homes based on location. The USDA Loan Program, however, allows lower income borrowers the flexibility to add more possible homes to their shopping list, all while keeping them very affordable.

USDA Renovation Loan Advantages: The Loan is Government Guaranteed!

Purchasing a fixer upper home through the USDA Renovation Loan Program offers plenty of benefits. One of the main benefits is the fact that the USDA Renovation Loan Program will roll in the costs of repair in the home being purchased, and that these renovations must be made before the sale of the home is finalized at the closing table. Because the USDA Renovation Loan Program is a government backed loan, these homes must also pass sanitary and safety regulations set by the U.S. Department of Agriculture in the most recent HUD Handbook before the home can be sold. This guarantees that you will be receiving a home with all the required work done prior to purchase and will also have a fully renovated and safe place to start a new life with your family.

The USDA Renovation Loan Program Will Save You Money!

Another benefit to choosing the USDA Renovation Loan Program and purchasing a home that needs renovations is the fact that the costs of repair are rolled into the mortgage. While this initially sounds like it would cost more money, the initial purchase price of homes that need repair are usually much lower than turnkey homes on the market. This is because the owner is willing to sell the home “as is,” while not wishing to be responsible for any repairs that are needed. Luckily, the repairs can be remedied while the additional costs are being rolled into the mortgage, resulting in a cost-efficient way to upgrade either a kitchen, bathroom, or patio!

Put Money Into Your Pocket With Instant Equity!

Did you know that upgrading your kitchen, bathroom, or any other living space can increase the value of your home? By upgrading these features, you are instantly adding appreciation to your home before you even purchase it. This would be a very cost efficient way to get the most out of a possible cash-out refinance later on down the road, putting even more money back into your pocket upon completing an appraisal to determine your home’s new value. Alternatively, if you’re looking to eventually purchase a new house altogether, selling your previous home that now has additional features and upgrades will increase the selling price as well. Not only do you save money by choosing to purchase your home with a USDA Renovation loan, but you also make money in equity after the renovations are completed! And even more, you are paying yourself to upgrade your home while also giving it your own personal flair!

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Why a FHA 203K Renovation Loan May Be Right For You

Fixer Upper Mortgage: FHA 203K Loans

If you’re thinking about purchasing a new home through the FHA Loan Program, be sure to fully explore your options! While you can easily just buy a home that is not in need of any repairs, the FHA Renovation Loan Program allows you, as a borrower, to have a few more options for purchasing homes in any location. Unlike the USDA Loan Programs, which require the home to be in a rural location, the FHA Loan Program has no restriction on area. The FHA Loan Program allows borrowers the flexibility to add more possible homes to their shopping list, all while keeping them very affordable.

 

FHA 203K Advantages: Government Backed Loan

Purchasing a home that needs repair offers plenty of benefits. One of the main benefits is the fact that the FHA 203K Loan Program will roll in the costs of renovation in the home being purchased, and that these renovations must be made before the sale of the home is finalized at the closing table. Because the FHA 203K Loan Program is a government backed loan, these homes must also pass sanitary and safety regulations set by the Federal Housing Administration before they can be sold. This guarantees that you will be receiving a home with all the required work done prior to purchase and will have a fully renovated and safe place to start a new life of homeownership.

 

Renovating Is Very Cost Efficient!

Another benefit to choosing the FHA 203K Loan Program and purchasing a home that needs renovations is the fact that the costs of repair are rolled into the mortgage. While this initially sounds like it would cost more money, the initial purchase price of homes that need repair are usually much lower than turnkey homes on the market. This is because the owner is willing to sell the home “as is,” while not wishing to be responsible for any repairs that are needed. Luckily, the repairs can be taken care of while the additional costs are being rolled into the loan, benefiting you as the home buyer!

 

You Can Pay Your Future Self By Adding Your Personal Flair!

Another one of the biggest advantages is the fact you are adding value to your home before you even purchase it. By upgrading multiple areas like bathrooms, kitchens, decks or patios, you are adding those enhancements to your home. This would be a very strategic way to get the most out of a possible cash-out refinance later on down the road, putting even more money back into your pocket upon receiving a favorable appraisal to determine your home’s new value. Alternatively, if you’re looking to eventually purchase a new house altogether, selling your previous home that now has recent upgrades will increase the selling price as well. Not only do you save money by choosing to purchase your home with a FHA 203K loan, but you also make money in equity after the renovations are completed! And even more, you are paying yourself to upgrade your home to your liking!

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Why a Home Renovation Loan May Be Right For You

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If you are looking for a home, a home renovation loan may be a better choice and also more cost-efficient than buying a home that is turnkey ready. A home renovation loan is a mortgage in which the cost of repairs are rolled into the loan itself. The most popular loan programs that have this ability are the FHA Loan Programs, also known as FHA 203k, The USDA Renovation Loan Program, and the VA Renovation Loan Program.

There are several reasons why this loan-type is advantageous. You have the ability to upgrade your home in a very cost-efficient way, you can add your own personal style with those renovations, and you can also add instant equity to the home before you even purchase! So not only do you pay less for a home that has the upgrades you may want, but you also pay yourself in equity by personalizing your home!

Homes That Need Renovations Are Cheaper

One of the biggest benefits is that homes that need renovations are usually priced lower on the market. If a home buyer is looking for a home that fits their budget but also wishes to save a bit of money getting the quality of home they want, this is one of the better options. For example, being able to renovate an outdated worn-down kitchen to an upgraded kitchen while rolling in the costs into the mortgage more often than not results in a purchase price lower than a home that has the upgraded kitchen already in the home.

You Can Add Personality To Your New Home

Another advantage to renovating a home and rolling the costs of it into your mortgage loan is the fact that you can add some personal flair to your home without necessarily having to rebuild the entire home. Finding a home that may need a few repairs allows the buyer to make the choice of how they would like those items repaired. A run-down kitchen with soapstone countertops not your thing? Roll in the costs of beautiful granite countertops to give your kitchen that modern look instead. Bring out your personality by renovating and upgrading the way you want!

Instant Equity: Money In Your Pocket Later On!

One of the biggest advantages is the fact you are adding value to your home before you even purchase it. By upgrading core areas like bathrooms, kitchens, decks or patios, you are adding those amenities to your home. This would be a very strategic way to get the most out of a possible cash-out refinance later on down the road, putting even more money back into your pocket upon receiving a favorable appraisal to determine your home’s new value. Alternatively, if you’re looking to upgrade into a new house altogether, selling your previous home that now has recent upgrades will increase the selling price as well. Not only do you save money making the purchase to begin with, but you also make money in equity after the renovations are complete!

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Renting vs Buying a Home

Should you buy or rent? As much as I wish I had a straightforward answer for you, I don’t. Instead, I hope to guide your analysis in order to make things just a bit more clear for you. Let’s run down the major benefits of each.

Renting

Most often, those that choose to rent want or need flexibility based on one or more of the following factors:

Shorter-Term Commitment

If you’re the type of person who doesn’t know where they’ll be 6 days from now much less 30 years from now (average mortgage length), renting may be right for you. While the typical commitment term for a rental property is one year, landlords sometimes rent for shorter periods of time. This is a major decision factor for those who:

  • May soon be moving due to a change in family, school, work, or personal relationships
  • Appreciate a regular change of scenery
    • This might include a wish to travel often, or a want to try different property set ups (house, apartment, high or low volume buildings, city or beachside)
Lower-Maintenance Lifestyle

One of the greatest things about renting is that the maintenance, for the most part, is someone else’s problem

  • Routine Maintenance
    • Enjoy a pool or gym without cleaning it, a lawn without mowing it, etc.
  • Repair
    • Something goes wrong with the plumbing, AC, washing machine, roof, an appliance, etc. Who’s worrying about paying for that with valuable time and money? Not you.

This lifestyle is a major decision factor for those who:

  • Lead busy lives
    • Maybe you’re a full-time graduate student, a busy executive, a single parent, or just single in general and want to reserve your free time. You know, someone who would rather enjoy their time off in some other way than wrenching on the leaky faucet in the guest bathroom.
Lower Financial Risk

When you rent, you pay a premium (in the form of a rental fee that exceeds the relative amount of value you receive from the property), but the rent you pay also guarantees that you can never lose more than the amounts you have contracted for. In other words, your wealth is not on the line when the house or apartment you’re renting lowers in value.This is a major decision factor for those who:

  • Plan to live in their next property for less than three years (the national average break-even point for owning a home in a healthy market).
  • Are not comfortable with the financial commitments of owning a home.
    • For example, compare fixed-cost rental payments with tax, insurance, and maintenance costs that often shift with home ownership.
  • Have a fluctuating income that would make a larger monthly commitment unmanageable.
  • Do not have much financial faith in the concept of owning a home as an asset.
    • Maybe you’re the sort of person who prioritizes investing in other areas.

Buying

There are many reasons why someone buys instead of rents, but most have to do with having the will (and money) to take on more risk in order to gain the following rewards:

Customization and Peace of Mind

Buying a home often instills a feeling of stability, which includes freedom from most of the rules and restrictions that come along with renting. Also, buyers have much more freedom to renovate and adjust their living space to suit their everyday lives and make their time spent at home more enjoyable.

Long Term Financial Rewards

If you’re the sort of person who has a fairly good idea of where you’ll be for the next several years, buying may be right for you. Buying a home may afford you the following financial benefits:

  • Taking Advantage of Attractive Mortgage Rates or Home Prices
  • The average mortgage interest rate in the United States over the last 50 years has been around 10%. Recent times have held lower rates, but the future is uncertain and we may soon return to higher average rates. Higher rates mean less access to more expensive homes for the average person. Buying a home now may reduce the risk of being locked out of your dream home.
  • Home value appreciation is another potential gain with buying a home. In very strong markets, homeowners may gain equity in their home very quickly. Home values fluctuate, however, and they could always decrease in value as well.

Savings

The most important asset class for the majority of Americans is their primary home. Homes are relatively expensive assets, and homeowners tend to accumulate much of or all of the equity interest in their homes. Effectively, homeowner’s equity often becomes savings from which to draw on in the future.

Tax Benefits

Federal, state and local governments often incentivize and support homebuyers through tax deductions.

Understanding these pros and cons, hopefully you are more ready than ever to make the buy vs. rent decision. Happy shopping!

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Getting Approved for a Mortgage with a Recent Job Change

Considering changing jobs, but curious how that might affect the mortgage approval you’re hoping for? Or, maybe you already have a new job and are wondering what your odds are. The general rule of thumb is that you should have a two-year history at your current job, but this is far from necessary in all cases. However obvious it may seem, the main question you need to ask yourself is: Can I prove that I can afford the expected mortgage payments? A close second question to consider is: Does this job move make sense on paper? Here are three things mortgage lenders take into account:

1. Changes to Income Structure

It’s much easier to show that you can meet expected payments when you’re being paid a guaranteed salary that exceeds the amount of payment needed. Where people often run into trouble is when they are moving to a new job where they will be making the same or less money guaranteed, but counting on bonuses or commissions for the rest .

2. W-2 or 1099?

If you’ll be working for yourself in your new role or working for someone else as a contractor (1099 as opposed to W-2), you will need to show at least 12 months of self-employment income before most lenders will approve your mortgage application.

3. Whether Job is in a New Industry

The gold standard in being approved for a mortgage with a new job is when an applicant works in the same industry for more pay. But what if your new job is in a completely new industry? For example, what if you were working as a bartender, but now you’re going to be employed as a pharmacist? Sometimes, these situations make sense. For example, in careers that require higher level education (think doctor, lawyer, etc.), lenders will expect to see such an abrupt change. If, however, you’re going to be a dog walker after having been a barber, you’re going to have more work to do. If your new job will offer you a written employment contract for at least one year, you’re going to have a much easier time convincing a lender you will be able to meet your expected payment. If it’s unlikely that you’ll be offered such a contract in your new role, you’re better off getting approved for a mortgage first before taking a job in a new industry.

Getting approved for a mortgage with a recent job change is well within your reach, as long as you go about it the right way. When in doubt, hold off on the new job change until you can secure the mortgage that’s right for you.

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How to Buy a Home with Student Loan Debt

In the United States, there is currently about $1.5 trillion dollars’ worth of outstanding student loan debt. By comparison, that’s hundreds of billions of dollars more than outstanding credit card debt! Also, about 20% of those paying off student loans are paying off amounts greater than $100,000.00 and the average monthly student loan payment is $300.00. It’s hard to imagine that you can ever finish paying off this debt, and be able to start the life you imagined when you first decided to go to college. That hopeless feeling is common among anyone who graduated college in the last couple of decades, but not many realize that it’s possible to have this debt AND also buy your dream home. You don’t have to pay off your student loans before buying a house, but it does have a couple of extra factors. Let’s break it down for you

#1 Student Loan Status 

First you need to determine what status your student loans are in. Are they on an income based repayment plan,in forbearance, or currently in deferral? If they are, you should skip down to the 4th tip because you may have a different factor to deal with than if you’re on a standard payment plan. If you’re not sure, then read through all of the steps, and when you’re done, either check your student loans online or give a call to the company who is managing your loans to confirm your status.

#2 Debt to Income Ratio

Everyone who wants to buy a home has to conform with the concept of debt to income ratio. Essentially, that means that a lender will consider the monthly payments for all of the debt that you are responsible for, and then compare it to all of the income that you bring in each month. It then will create a percentage that they use to determine approvals and loan programs that you are eligible for (the number you want to stay around is 43%). Of course, having a monthly debt such as a student loan payment is going to drive that percentage up.

Another consideration is if you plan on having someone else on the loan with you. Something many people don’t realize is that you will have to include their figures for your combined debt to income ratio (yes, if they have debt, it is now considered as part of a combined percentage, which could have a negative effect). There are also benefits, because if they have good income and very little debt, that will help your overall combined debt to income ratio. Keep that in mind when looking into your mortgage options.

If after all of your efforts, you find that your debt to income ratio is still too high, you don’t have too many options left other than lowering your debt or making more money. If only making more money were easy, right? Some people think getting a second job will help, but if you have a part time job for less than 2 years, you may not be able to include that in your debt to income ratio. Your best bet would be working on getting overtime, bonuses, or asking for a pay increase, even if it is confirmed in a letter from your employer that it won’t be active now, but will be promised at a specified date. You can also consider the possibility of finding a better paying job, but also keep in mind that lenders will want to see you transition to a job that is in a similar line of work, and you want to avoid having an unemployment gap over 30 days. Pay structure is also important, so if you change jobs, you don’t want to switch from a 1099 to a W2 or vice versa. Stick with transitioning from a W2 to a W2 or a 1099 to a 1099.

The other option would be looking at ways to lower your debt. Your ratio will improve if you can eliminate some recurring debts entirely, and that’s always a worthwhile endeavor. Another focus might include reducing the amount of recurring debt you must spend. One way to do this with student loans is to consolidate and/or refinance them (be careful when refinancing student loans and make sure that you understand all repayment terms and what is best for your individual goals). There are many lenders out there willing to refinance even your federal student loans at a lower rate, and it would help lower the amount of your monthly payments if you consolidate to one payment each month.

#3 Know Your Credit Score

Particularly if student loan debt is a concern, you’re going to want to make sure that you have access to the best rates and programs available. In order to do that, you need a decent credit score. Check yours through annualcreditreport.com. If your average score is under 600, you’ll certainly want to do some work to improve your score before shopping for a mortgage.

#4  How to Deal with Forbearance, Income Based Repayment Plans or Deferrals

Is your student loan status one of the following: In Forbearance, on Income-Based Repayment Plans, or In Deferral? Up until recently, having student loans in one of these categories greatly limited the home loans available to would-be homeowners. Things have gotten much better. For some loan programs, lenders must count between 0.5 and 1% of your total outstanding loan balance if it falls under one of these categories. Because of the effect this can have on debt to income ratios, you may find yourself out of luck with some loan programs. This can be particularly troubling for those with student loan balances that are too high to be refinanced comfortably. Don’t worry! Conventional loan programs are much more likely to take only the amount you actually pay monthly into consideration.

There you have it. Having student loan debt does not and should not keep you from achieving the dream of home ownership!

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Is Now a Good Time to Buy a Home?

Over the last two years there’s been a lot of movement in the markets. Stocks went way up, but have more recently backslid. In terms of the American workforce, we’re told that most working-age people are gainfully employed and that businesses are now competing for the best talent. How does all this affect the housing market and what you can afford? Whether you have previous experience in buying a home or are just now considering it for the first time, it can be pretty confusing to tell whether now is a good time to buy a home or not. Let’s take a moment to step back and figure out where we are by briefly reviewing the modern history of mortgages in the United States.

The Early Mortgage

Did you know in the early 1900’s home buyers were typically expected to have a down payment of 50% of a home’s value when applying for mortgages? Beyond that, the typical period to pay off the remaining 50% or so of a mortgage was around 3 to 5 years! The system was far from perfect, and a lot of Americans were left with the dream of home ownership simply out of reach.But things got even worse during the Great Depression when most home mortgage loans stopped being offered altogether. Enter Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal,which aimed at stimulating economic growth in the United States. One major creation of the New Deal was the Federal Housing Administration (FHA), which introduced 15 and 30 year mortgages that offered insurance to lenders who had become fearful of borrowers defaulting because of the Depression. In addition to creating a safer environment for lending, these new mortgages offered the middle class the opportunity to buy a home with lower down payments and more extended terms for repayment.

Booms and Busts

There was likely never a more prosperous time for the average American than in those years following the Second World War. Soldiers were returning home and it seemed that just about everyone could take part in the American dream of home ownership. For decades following, the country’s booming economy fed increasing appetites for more expensive housing.Eventually, the housing market could no longer meet so much demand. As a result,interest rates rose steadily through the 70’s and 80’s and soared to the 20%range. With fewer people to afford this level of interest, the market adjusted again to below the 10% level in the later 90’s. Part of this market adjustment was due to the rise of sub-prime and predatory lending, practices which aim to offer loans to borrowers who lack the ability to afford them. When the jig was up, and owing in part to the record-high number of mortgage defaults that would follow, the country entered a massive economic downturn that would come to be known as the Great Recession in 2007-2008. Following this period, the government responded by increasing regulations to crack down on sub-prime and predatory lending. The government also responded by lowering the cost of credit to historic lows, which allowed for lending institutions to offer mortgages at rates nearly as low as 3%!

Today

After so much government stimulus and with the economy continuing to show positive signs of growth, the government is currently responding by raising interest rates on credit. In turn, lenders are offering mortgages at slightly higher rates (today, the average mortgage rate is 4.5%).While it’s impossible to tell what the future holds, there are signs that the government won’t be raising the cost of credit as quickly in the future as it has been recently. This is because the economy and wage growth may not be improving quite as well as traditional indicators suggest. Giving some back bone to that theory, we are starting to see home prices once again drop due to being priced too high to sell. With interest rates still near historic lows and home prices starting to fall, I hope you now agree that now is a great time to buy a home.

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Crefco Dog Days of Christmas Instagram Contest Rules

Enter in a chance to win a $50 Amazon gift card!!! (Just in time for those holiday gifts)

How to enter:

1. Follow our Instagram profile @crefco 

2. Like the post on Instagram

3. Tag a friend in the comments

4. Then share a picture of your festive furry friend with the hashtag #CrefcoDogDaysofChristmas

Giveaway runs from Dec 13th – Midnight Dec 20th.Winner will be selected at random and will be announced on our page no later than 5PM(EST) on Monday Dec 21st

The gift card will be sent via email so a valid email address will be required.

Continental U.S. participants only! Must be 18 years and up to enter

 ***This giveaway is in no way sponsored or endorsed by Instagram or Amazon***

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How to Have a Frugal Holiday Season

The holiday season is an especially risky time for those of us that have goals that involve living a mindful, budgeted lifestyle. Even those of us that hold these goals so dearly most of the year can get sidetracked by the pressure of spending over the holidays. In the consumerist western culture, we’re made to believe that what we spend has something to do with our worth as a good family member or friend. This year, let’s remember the better side of the holidays: the opportunity to share and pass on traditions. Let me recommend that one of those traditions ought to involve practicing frugality. Through frugal practices, we can show wonderful examples of resourcefulness, appreciation, and that sort of be-your-own-person approach to doing things that the holidays can sometimes lack. Here are some ideas to get started on:

 

Start With Setting a Budget

 

If you have your own family, sit down with your partner and discuss what a reasonable budget is for holiday spending this year. Simply having this conversation is worthwhile because of the feelings of accountability that come along with it. But even if you’re only planning for your own budget, the key is to stick to it.  Other helpful budget-setting tools include setting a cap on how much you’ll spend per person or per gift.

 

Redefine the Holidays For Yourself and Your Children

 

Especially if your children are very young, you have an opportunity to make each holiday your very own. For tight budgets, you might employ a secret Santa style gift-giving arrangement where each family member gets only one other family member a gift. You might also consider giving a family gift to a worthwhile charity. Maybe your family spends an entire day each season on a movie-thon. Maybe you cook together or go for walks in the snow. The holidays are about togetherness and tradition, so put your stamp on them.

 

Create and Re-use Holiday Décor

 

You’ll get a double-whammy out of the low-cost fun of creating your own holiday décor while spending time with your loved ones. If you find yourself wanting to purchase something new, it can cost you big unless you find a super bargain. A great alternative is to find used items and repurpose them. You never know what you will find when you go to your local thrift stores. It’s possible you could find a beautiful antique, or you could use your creativity to refurbish something making this season cost effective, but also more sentimental if you put time into redefining an old item.

 

Mindful Gift-Giving

 

No matter what your budget may be this year, vow to be a little bit more thoughtful about how you give and how you ask for gifts. If you have children, have them write their wish list the old-fashioned way, with paper and pencil. The problem with online shopping is the unlimited items available with the click of a button, taking away the boundaries usually put up by local accessibility. Instead, have your children write to you about what they would like and why they would like it. Maybe even have them list it from most wanted to least. Encourage charitable habits and keeping tidy at the same time by asking your children to donate some of their older possessions to children who will go without new gifts this year. It’s worth saying; gift-giving does not need to be done cheaply to be done frugally. Buying someone something of quality that costs a bit more, but will last, is much better than feeling like you should buy them a new one next year to make up for it, and it’s a much more thoughtful gift in the long-run. As for receiving, the frugal move may just be to ask for the thing you really need or will buy later in the year anyways so that you can offset whatever costs you do have from holiday spending.

 

Good luck and Happy Holidays!

 

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8 Credit Tips to Improve Your Score This Holiday Season

With the holiday season upon us, you might be wondering where all the time went. Me too. Expenses (both planned and unplanned) are piling up. You may also be wondering how, through the madness, you can maintain your credit score, improve upon it, or, at the very least, keep it from going off a cliff. Maybe you’ve got an upcoming home or car purchase on your mind. Whatever your reason, working on building/maintaining your credit is never a bad idea. Okay holiday credit warriors, listen up. With these 8 credit tips to improve your score, you just may escape this season with a better credit score than ever.

#1 – Take Inventory

Did you know that you’re entitled to one free copy of your credit report every year from each of the three nationwide credit companies? Just head over to annualcreditreport.com.

A good credit score is anything over 700. An average credit score is anything above about a 650. If your score is below that, you have some work do. But don’t worry, there are still plenty of businesses that will work with you, and working on your score is exactly what we’re doing here.

 

#2 – Available Credit

Your credit score is directly related to how much of your available credit you’re using, so be sure to take note.  For example, let’s say you have three credit cards with a maximum balance of $10,000 each, you’ve spent $5,000 total, and you’ve spent roughly $1,500 on each. You’re in great shape in this scenario because you aren’t coming close to your total maximum balance or the maximum balance of any individual card. If you have plenty of room on your cards, there is no cause for concern. If you’re getting close to your maximum on any, you may think about getting a 0% introductory rate credit card for holiday purchases. You will likely need somewhat decent credit to qualify for these cards, but the savings are worth it if you do. Just make sure you will be able to pay it down before the introductory rate expires.

 

#3 – Length of Credit

You may be wondering whether now is a good time to close out those cards you’ve had for a while and don’t really use. The answer to that would be no, especially if you’re thinking about an upcoming purchase requiring good credit.

Some people seem to think that paying down and canceling credit cards will raise their score. This is simply not true. The credit world is mysterious that way. I’m definitely not telling you to keep your cards open forever, but if you need to use your credit in the near future, it’s best to wait on completely paying off and/or closing accounts.

 

#4 – Retail Store Rewards Cards  

Particularly if you cannot qualify for a credit card with a 0% introductory rate, retail store rewards cards can be helpful to take advantage of offered savings while building credit. A word of caution, never open too many cards of any kind at one time. Doing so will hurt your length of credit history, part of what makes up your overall credit score.

 

#5 – Reporting Payments You Already Make to Credit Bureaus

If you’re looking to boost your credit score or add more to your credit report, you might try reporting payments you already make to the major credit bureaus. You can accomplish this by researching apps for recurring payments you make. For example, reporting rent you already pay each month is possible with the help of several apps and programs dedicated to the service.

 

#6 – Use Someone Else’s Credit Card

I’m joking, right? No, I’m not. By becoming an “Authorized User” on someone else’s credit card (someone that trusts you…like, a lot… that also has good credit), you can have access to that card’s funds while building your own credit. The best part, you will remain without legal obligation to make regular payments on the card.

 

#7 – Installment Loans

You have a big present in mind for that special someone, but don’t want to spend all your holiday cash or tank your credit cards. Installment loans can be a great credit builder. And if you’ve already set aside all the money you’ll need to make the payments, this becomes an incredibly nifty little credit trick. Installment loans are commonly used for jewelry purchases. With this tip, you might find yourself building credit while expanding your holiday budget at the same time. Look at the budding credit pro you are becoming already!

 

#8 – Credit Card Reward Points

Instead of racking up new debt, spend some time reviewing rewards already available to you on the cards in your wallet. You can use travel points to offset holiday visits to relatives, use retail or flexible points to buy gift cards and make purchases that otherwise would have blown your budget. The better you know your rewards programs, the more creative you can get this holiday spending season.

 

Hopefully these 8 credit tips will help you not just survive the holiday season, but help you improve your credit score. With Tax Return season around the corner, you may now find yourself in a great position to make that big purchase that previously seemed like a dream. Happy Holidays and happy shopping!!

 

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