Credit Terms Explained…

 

First, some terms and acronyms!

~ FICO stands for Fair Isaac Corporation, which is a large company that provides the software that calculates your credit score.  One founder’s last name is Fair. The other’s is…you guessed it…Isaac.

~ Credit is a promise to buy now and pay latercredit-score

~ Credit risk is the likeliness of you paying back the debt

~ Credit reporting agency (there are 3 major ones) collect, maintain and provide information about your credit history

~ Credit score is the number that all of the above leads to! Your credit score is a number that is compiled to determine your creditworthiness

Credit scores range from 300 to about 850 and if you haven’t guessed by now, the higher the score the better your credit, and perceived willingness to repay a debt.  The 3 large reporting agencies are Experian, Equifax and Transunion, and for the purposes of obtaining a mortgage, your lender will use all three.  But your credit score is used for much more than just getting a loan to purchase a home. Credit card companies, insurance agencies, cable companies, cell phone companies and landlords are just an example of who may want to see your credit score and credit report before saying “yes” to your requests.

Here’s a great link to a booklet to find out much more about FICO and credit scores ~ http://bit.ly/2nmZmh9

And one to find out how to improve your current score ~ http://bit.ly/2mD1GAl

2017 resolutions, starting today!

Yes, I know it’s February, but I suspect that the resolutions you made on New Year’s Eve have all been set aside and forgotten. So why not try something a bit more realistic now that the pressure of losing weight treadmill and working out is over?

I would suggest that a great way to start (the rest of) 2017 is to take a look at your credit score, and see how you can improve it.  With credit scores determining not only if you can purchase a home, your credit score also plays a big part in obtaining insurance, credit cards, etc.

If you’re planning on purchasing a home house , the best thing to do is meet with a lender (and yes, I can make recommendations!).  The lender will pull your credit and if changes need to be made, will make suggestions.

If you’re already a homeowner, or not yet ready to become one, you can pull your own report for free once a year at www.annualcreditreport.com

Once you know your “number” and if it needs improvement, here are 5 things you can do:

  • If there are errors on your report, dispute them ~ it will take some time and effort but really help!
  • Set monthly goals to pay down credit cards ~ start with the small ones and then use that money to tackle the larger ones!
  • Set up payment reminders ~ it’s easy to forget a payment with so much going on in our busy lives, so my reminder system saves me once or twice a month!
  • Set up auto pay on your accounts ~ but remember to have the money in the account when the payment comes out!
  • Use cash whenever you can ~ but remember that having credit is a plus on your report so don’t close out accounts, just keep the balance low and pay on time!

credit-score

Working from home?

I love to say “I’m working from home today”. Especially on those snowy winter days. I know, you’re groaning, but they will be back ….! But working from home can be both a luxury and a curse. Yes, there is no traffic or ice to drive through and you may not even need to get dressed! But you do need to be able to separate the work and the home thing, and that’s not always as easy as it sounds.  It’s so easy to get distracted when working from home, especially if you don’t have a dedicated space away from the rest of the household, like from the pets and the kids and the laundry!

Home office

The best way to overcome these distractions is to have a room dedicated to just your office.  With a door that closes.  And a rule that says “door closed~stay out”!

You want your home office to be cozy and comfortable, but not so comfortable that you sneak in there just to take a nap! Remember that this is for work, so treat this space as you would your space at your “real” office. You want it to be welcoming, but not so welcoming that your family comes and sets up camp for the day!   Consider lighting, furniture and functionality all as you would for your “real” office space.  And equipment, although with the options of compact scanners/printers/copiers and iPads and cell phones, there really isn’t that much by way of equipment needed these days!

I do have my own home office space, and a new desk as well, but I can still get distracted so sometimes I think it comes down to mind over matter.  What do you do to stay focused at home?  Any suggestions to share? I’d love to hear them, I’m sure my work at home days can be way more productive!!

More than Lighthouses and Lobsters…in Midcoast Maine!

The new Mainebiz Fact Book 2015 just arrived, and what a great resource for information for anyone already living and working here, but also for anyone who is thinking about relocating home and/or business to our wonderful state!  For a digital look at the Factbook, click on http://bit.ly/1fuxdQE.

I’ve been calling Maine home since 1987, and couldn’t be happier here.  What about you, are you a native? A new resident? A visitor?  What do you love about our Great State of Maine (and that reminds me of the air show coming up soon…more on that later!!

portland

Preservation and Progress ~ Questions, no answers!

The desire to preserve things “just the way they are” and the desire to expand and grow better ~ the balance between the two is often unstable at best ~ and is always like walking a tightrope.  
 
We often come across this dilemma when talking about real estate.  One’s concern about an unspoiled view and rural character is at odds with another’s view about progress and growth.  How do we protect local wildlife while allowing for housing growth and development?  How do we preserve historic buildings while allowing for new commercial enterprises? Can it be done?  I hope the answer is yes, but I’m not really sure how to get there.  
Farm
As a member of my town’s Comprehensive Plan Committee, I’d love to know what your experiences ~ both positive and negative ~ have been to help me work through these issue in my small town… Can we encourage a new subdivision without disturbing the neighboring farm?  Can we encourage new employment without angering the long term residents who don’t want to see any part of their past change?
Subdivision
 
I’ll wait to hear from you!