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Thinking about buying a second home?

Posted by Chris Devin July 11, 2014 12:40 PM

By: Chris Devin

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It is that time of year when people are heading to the beaches on Cape Cod and lakes and coastline up in NH and Maine. Second homes can be a great getaway for many and a place to retreat, entertain and create memories. How do you buy a second home? What should you be thinking about if you're looking to purchase one? Are you going to use it as a family retreat and potential future primary residence or maybe rent it out?

These are all great questions that you need to think through and answer yourself. For more information click here to learn more.

If you are interested in getting pre-approved to buy a second home, feel free to reach out to Chris Devin directly by clicking here.

Paying Off Debt The Smart Way

Posted by Chris Devin July 10, 2014 11:05 AM

By: Paul Dion CPA

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Between mortgages, car loans, credit cards, and student loans, most people are in debt. While being debt-free is a worthwhile goal, most people need to focus on managing their debt first since it's likely to be there for most of their life.

Handled wisely, that debt won't be an albatross around your neck. You don't need to shell out your hard-earned money because of exorbitant interest rates or always feel like you're on the verge of bankruptcy. You can pay off debt the smart way, while at the same time saving money to pay it off even faster.

Assess the Situation
First, assess the depth of your debt. Write it down using pencil and paper or use a spreadsheet like Microsoft Excel. You can also use a bookkeeping program such as Quicken. Include every instance you can think of where a company has given you something in advance of payment, including your mortgage, car payment(s), credit cards, tax liens, student loans, and payments on electronics or other household items through a store.

Record the day the debt began and when it will end (if possible), the interest rate you're paying, and what your payments typically are. Next, add it all up--as painful as that might be. Try not to be discouraged! Remember, you're going to break this down into manageable chunks while finding extra money to help pay it down.

Identify High-Cost Debt
Yes, some debts are more expensive than others. Unless you're getting payday loans (which you shouldn't be), the worst offenders are probably your credit cards. Here's how to deal with them.

Don't use them. Don't cut them up, but put them in a drawer and only access them in an emergency.

Identify the card with the highest interest and pay off as much as you can every month. Pay minimums on the others. When that one's paid off, work on the card with the next highest rate.

Don't close existing cards or open any new ones. It won't help your credit rating, and in fact, will only hurt it.

Pay on time, absolutely every time. One late payment these days can lower your FICO score.

Go over your credit-card statements with a fine-tooth comb. Are you still being charged for that travel club you've never used? Look for line items you don't need.

Call your credit card companies and ask them nicely if they would lower your interest rates. It does work sometimes!

Save, Save, Save
Do whatever you can to retire debt. Consider taking a second job and using that income only for higher payments on your financial obligations. Substitute free family activities for high-cost ones. Sell high-value items that you can live without.

Do Away with Unnecessary Items to Reduce Debt Load
Do you really need the 800-channel cable option or that satellite dish on your roof? You'll be surprised at what you don't miss. How about magazine subscriptions? They're not terribly expensive, but every penny counts. It's nice to have a library of books, but consider visiting the public library or half-price bookstores until your debt is under control.

Never, Ever Miss a Payment
Not only are you retiring debt, but you're also building a stellar credit rating. If you ever move or buy another car, you'll want to get the lowest rate possible. A blemish-free payment record will help with that. Besides, credit card companies can be quick to raise interest rates because of one late payment. A completely missed one is even more serious.

Pay With Cash
To avoid increasing debt load, make it a habit to pay with cash. If you don't have the cash for it, you probably don't need it. You'll feel better about what you do have if you know it's owned free and clear.

Shop Wisely, and Use the Savings to Pay Down Your Debt
If your family is large enough to warrant it, invest $30 or $40 and join a store like Sam's or Costco--and use it. Shop there first, then at the grocery store. Change brands if you have to and swallow your pride. If you're concerned about buying organic, rest assured that even at places like Costco you will have many options. Use coupons religiously. Calculate the money you're saving and slap it on your debt.

Each of these steps, taken alone, probably doesn't seem like much, but if you adopt as many as you can, you'll watch your debt decrease every month. If you need help managing debt give us a call. We can help.

If you have questions about your personal situation and would like to reach out to Boston Power Player and CPA Paul Dion directly you can do so by clicking here.

The Meteoric Growth of Student Debt

Posted by Chris Devin July 9, 2014 11:48 AM

The Meteoric Growth of Student Debt

 

If you have student debt, you are part of a quickly growing segment of the population. Since 1999, student loan debt has increased by over 500%. In 1999, student loans totaled roughly $90 billion. They now total over $550 billion. That number's higher than the GDP of Norway. And, the consequences for both students and society at large are huge.

 

Rising Tuition, Rising Debt


While more and more people are seeking secondary education, this is only a small part of the cause of rising student debt. The cost of a college education has gone up at several times the rate of inflation. Between 2000 and 2012, the average cost at a public college went from $10,000 a year to just over $14,000.


If the Bubble Bursts


The current default level on federal student loans is rising, going from 9% to 10% over the past three years. Student loan default can have a disastrous effect on your credit score. This debt stays on your credit report for many years. It cannot be discharged in a bankruptcy. Often, the only option for those who wish to repair credit and move on to opportunities like home ownership is expensive rehabilitation.

The costs of growing student loans is not limited to the individual. Our economy is consumer based. And, when people have less to spend, this leads to lower economic growth, as we saw during the housing crisis. Should the student loan bubble burst in the way the mortgage bubble did, it will lead to slowed growth in every segment. Fewer people will be able to purchase homes. Costs for products that range from credit cards to insurance will put a higher burden on a wider range of individuals.

For additional information on how to repair your credit score and deal with overwhelming student loans feel free to contact us at 617-265-7900 or request a free consultation below.

State of Mississippi Sues Experian

Posted by Chris Devin July 6, 2014 11:46 AM

State of Mississippi Sues Experian

Credit reports are a necessary evil. Creditors pull a copy any time you borrow money, landlords use them to determine whether you are a safe bet, and employers in some states still use them to determine your ability to manage financial affairs.

No Built-In Protections

The problem is, credit reports are routinely riddled with errors. Debt management companies work with clients every day who are hounded by inaccurate information and in need of credit repair. Like being accused of robbing a convenience store when you are actually home in bed, it is up to you ? the consumer ? to disprove inaccurate information included on your report and repair credit. The three major credit bureaus have thus far made it a practice to do little more than collect data and sell that information to those who want to see it. Whether or not that data is correct is of little concern as long as they continue to make a profit.

States Become Involved

Now comes news that the state of Mississippi has sued the world?s largest credit bureau, Experian. The lawsuit contends that paperwork errors and sloppy consumer protection are rampant. Experian has gone so far as to report that some consumers are on a terrorists watch list. While it is Mississippi leading the fight against the massive agency, 32 other states are currently investigating the industry as a whole.

They ask how fair it is for a person to be denied a job or loan due to errors included on a credit report. According to Mississippi Attorney General Jim Hood, the company knows that the credit files of millions of Americans contain grievous errors, and yet refuse to do anything to correct the situation. Credit bureau are not the consumer's friend and do not exist to give credit tips or help the consumer build their credit score. Even as states come after them, it seems that as a whole the industry refuses to back down.

Three Major Bureaus, Three Sources of Trouble

All three of the major credit bureaus ? Experian, TransUnion and Equifax ? gather information from banks, landlords, debt collectors, and any other source that might provide a snapshot of personal finance habits. Although it is an open secret that these credit reports are often laughably inaccurate banks and some prospective employers still look to them to help determine a person?s financial stability.

The Mississippi suit also alleges that Experian provides no easy way for consumers to correct those glaring mistakes, regardless of how an individual may be impacted by the errors to their report. When Experian does respond to a customer complaint, more often than not they find in favor of the debt collector or banking institution that reported the black mark. After all, it is essential to keep their paying customers happy.

Neither the credit bureau or its trade group, the Consumer Data Industry Association, are willing to discuss the law suit or answer any questions about their lingering practices.

 

For additional information on how to challenge those errors and repair your credit, please contact our office at 617-265-7900 or request a free consultation below.

Top 5: Ways To Start Repairing Your Credit Today

Posted by Chris Devin July 4, 2014 11:44 AM

Top 5: Ways To Start Repairing Your Credit Today

When it comes to debt management, one of the most important things that you can do is begin the credit repair process as soon as possible. In the world of finance, your credit score is one of the most important personal attributes that you have. It determines everything from how much you'll pay for the mortgage on a house to whether or not you'll get approved for a credit card. The road to repair credit isn't necessarily a difficult one, but it is one that requires a great deal of patience.

Make a List of Your Current Expenses

Start by itemizing every dollar that you're required to spend on a monthly basis. Write down all of your utility bills, your rent, your car payment and more. Doing so will help you create a more realistic budget that you'll be able to stick with. Remember that part of credit repair involves getting a better control over where you're money is going. That process begins by understanding how much money you're required to spend on a monthly basis and how much you have left over for savings, entertainment and more.

Pay Down Existing Debt

One of the most important things that you can do with regards to debt management is pay down existing debt in any way that you can. This is especially true if one or more of your accounts has gone to collections. Accounts in collections will continue to hurt your credit score with each passing day, so work on paying existing debt before you even think about taking on new debt.

Get a Starter Credit Card

One of the credit tips that works well for nearly any type of situation involves getting a starter credit card that is specifically designed for people with poor credit. Even if you can't get a traditional card, you can still get one where you pay in advance towards the balance. If you want to spend $100, for example, you have to pay $100 plus a small fee to add money to the card. With every purchase that you make, you'll be slowly establishing positive payment habits that go a long way towards improving your overall credit score.

Stay On Top of Your Credit Report

During the credit repair process, you'll want to regularly check your credit report for two different reasons. The first involves making sure that there are no erroneous items that may be hurting your score. The second is the motivational boost that you'll get as you watch your score slowly rise.

Start Saving Wherever Possible

Talk to your bank and see if they have a program that rounds all purchases up to the nearest dollar and places the difference in a savings account. When it comes to finance and debt management, every little bit helps get out of the hole that you feel like you're in.

For more information on how to repair your credit, please contact our office at 617-265-7900 or request a free consultation below.

DEVIN REPORT: Weekly Update On The Mortgage Markets

Posted by Chris Devin July 2, 2014 12:04 PM
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What's going on this week?

Pending Home Sales Surge 6.1%:
The spring recovery in home sales gained further ground in May. Signed contracts to buy existing homes surged 6.1 percent from April. This is the largest monthly gain since April 2010, just before the end of the popular first-time home buyer tax credit.
"Sales should exceed an annual pace of five million homes in some of the upcoming months behind favorable mortgage rates, more inventory and improved job creation," said Lawrence Yun, chief economist for the Realtors.

Regionally, the Realtors' pending home sales index jumped 8.8 in the Northeast month-to-month, rose 6.3 percent in the Midwest, rose 4.4 percent in the South and leaped 7.6 percent in the West. Pending sales in all regions, other than the Northeast (which was flat), are lower than they were in May of 2013. Closed sales of both new and existing homes rose strongly in May as well. The pending sales for May are an indicator of closed sales for May and June, depending on closing times. Closings have been speeding up of late.

This Week's Mortgage Rate Summary

How Rates Move:

Conventional and Government (FHA and VA) lenders set their rates based on the pricing of Mortgage-Backed Securities (MBS) which are traded in real time, all day in the bond market. This means rates or loan fees (mortgage pricing) moves throughout the day, being affected by a variety of economic or political events. When MBS pricing goes up, mortgage rates or pricing generally goes down. When they fall, mortgage pricing goes up. Tracking these securities real-time is critical. For more information about the rate market, contact me directly. I’m among few mortgage professionals who have access to live trading screens during market hours.

Rates Currently Trending: Neutral

Rates last week improved slightly, as reported by Sigma Research. The improvment last week for the MBS market was +38 basis points, which may mean a slight improvement in mortgage pricing.

This Week's Rate Forecast: Neutral

According to Sigma Research, the market should be relatively unchanged until Wednesday when Janet Yellen speaks. However, we are not expecting anything too dramatic from her. Thursday's June unemployment report could be a market mover as well. We have not changed the forecast from neutral due to the continued tight range in the market.

This Week's Potential Volatility: AVERAGE

Sigma Research says that there're a lot of market moving reports coming out this week that could cause higher volatility toward the end of the week. The big report is the unemployment rate on Thursday and this could finish the week off going into the long weekend with big swings in the market.

Bottom Line:
If you are looking for the risks and benefits of locking your interest rate in today or floating your loan rate, contact your our team the Devin Group by clicking here.



Credit Score Boost For Renters

Posted by Chris Devin July 2, 2014 11:41 AM

Credit Score Boost for Renters

It's a conundrum that a lot of renters face: you pay your bills on time every month. But, the monthly payments don't count toward your credit score, meaning that you are less likely to qualify for a home loan.

A new company called RentTrack is partnering with Experian and TransUnion to change that. Users of the service can pay their rent online through the RentTrack site. The credit bureaus will, at the renter's request, add the payment history to the renter's credit report.


Why Credit Bureaus Are Getting Involved


First-time homebuyers make up a smaller portion of home purchasers than ever before. The reason is that many don't have high enough credit scores to get approved for a mortgage. But, adding a consistent payment history to a renter's application can make all the difference when it comes to approval of funds to finance a house. TransUnion performed a study showing the effects of rental data on a credit report. One-fifth of renters saw their scores increase by 10 points or more in the first month. Another two-thirds saw either no effect or at least a small increase.

How It Works


Renters can visit RentTrack's site to see whether their landlords are already enrolled in the program. If a property owner is not signed up yet, an invitation will be sent. Then, the renter makes payments through the site using an e-check or a credit or debit card. You can even sign up for automated payments if you have trouble remembering when to pay the bill.

The site can be a boon to those undergoing credit repair, since it rewards you for doing what you will be doing anyway. Talk to us about the things that you can do to take control of your finances and improve your credit score.

For additional information on how to repair your credit, please contact our office at 617-265-7900 or request a free consultation below.

 

Inheriting Debt - What Happens To Your Debt After Your Die?

Posted by Chris Devin July 2, 2014 11:34 AM

Inheriting Debt

Pop quiz: What happens to your debt after you die?

  • A) If you have a co-signer on your mortgage or credit cards, debt collectors will come after him/her for finance payments.
  • B) Your estate will pay off the remainder of your debt.
  • C) Certain debt is passed on in your will.
  • D) Creditors have to eat remaining debt.
Depending on your situation, all of the above may be true, whether you're dealing with medical debt, mortgage payments or credit card debt. That's because there are a lot of different scenarios that can play out depending on what arrangements a certain person has made - or didn't make - when they were still alive.

Hypothetically speaking, say your spouse of 50 years passed away suddenly. You co-signed with your significant other on a home loan, which is paid off, and on a credit card, which has a $3,000 balance on it. Because you co-signed on the credit card, you're responsible for paying it off. Failure to do so will be reflected in your credit history and credit report.

But say, for instance, that your 85-year-old mother passed away, leaving behind medical debt. Her estate would be responsible for settling this debt and then everything left over would go to her heirs. So, for example, the valuables your mother accrued over her lifetime - car, home, etc. - would be used to settle any outstanding debt. If there isn't enough money to pay debt off, then her estate is declared "insolvent" and her creditors would have to eat the outstanding debt. So here's a credit tip - if an estate is declared "insolvent," heirs don't have to worry about how any outstanding debt will impact them, meaning that no lengthy credit repair measures need to be enacted on anyone's behalf - even if aggressive debt collectors still come knocking.

In some cases, however, someone may pass along a home with a balance on it to a loved one in their will. If that's the case, this loved one is the new owner and can either decide to enact a debt management strategy to finance the remainder of the home or they could sell it and pay the remaining balance off with what it is purchased for.

For more information on how to repair your credit, please contact us at 617-265-7900 or schedule a free consultation below.

 

Is Your Air Conditioning System Ready for Action?

Posted by Chris Devin July 1, 2014 10:13 AM

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By: Wayne Czybora/Bonafide Home Inspections

After a long cold winter, summer is finally here. Time to break out the patio furniture and fire up that barbecue grill. It is also time to get your central air conditioning system or window air conditioners ready for action.

Central air conditioners basically have two major components: the evaporator and condenser. The evaporator is mounted just above the furnace in the plenum and the condenser is usually located outside the house.

The evaporator and condenser are sealed. Therefore, I would recommend that you hire a professional service person to clean and inspect your A/C system prior to every cooling season. However, there are some simple maintenance tasks that you can do yourself.

First and foremost, make sure you are changing your air filter every 1 to 3 months throughout the cooling (and heating) season. This is really important and it is often forgotten, as it is one of those “out of sight-out of mind” issues.

To be more specific:

Average suburban household without pets (dog or cat): every 3 months.
Average suburban household with a pet: every 2 months.
Average suburban household with more than one pet or you have allergies…every month.

If you live in a dusty area, you may have to change your filter once a month, regardless.

Here are some tips on maintaining your condenser:

1. Remove any grass or shrubbery that may be around your condenser, as this can obstruct the
air flow.

2. Clean condenser with a commercial coil cleaner, available at refridgerator supply stores.

3. Clean fins with a soft brush to remove accumulated dirt. You may have to remove the
protective grille. Do not use a garden hose, as this can turn the dirt into mud and compact
the fins.

4. If fins are bent, straighten them with a fin comb available at most appliance parts stores.

5. Make sure the pad on which the condenser rests is level. If not, lift it with a pry bar and
place some gravel/rocks under it.

If you have window air conditioners, make sure you remove the front grille and clean your filter as often as mentioned above. This can usually be done with a brush. Many air conditioners have a washable filter that looks like sponge rubber. Clean this type of filter with water and a little bit of household detergent. Make sure it is completely dry before re-installing.

And lastly, clean the inside of your window A/C with a vacuum cleaner.

If you have questions or are buying or selling your home and would like to have a home inspection done you can reach out to Wayne Czybora at Bonafide Home Inspections directly by clicking here.

Why Should You Stage Your Home To Sell?

Posted by Chris Devin June 25, 2014 04:36 PM

By: Blair Hamaty-Professional Stager and Executive Managing Officer of Setting The Space
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Maybe there's too much home inventory. Maybe there's too little inventory. Maybe the stock market is crazy today. Home prices are going up... home prices are going down. Yikes!

All homeowners as well as realtors should stage their homes in ANY market!

Home staging is analogous to an insurance policy. It's a big decision for a homeowner to put a sign on their front lawn saying "FOR SALE". A big decision like that entails some risks, maybe some sleepless nights for the homeowner. For a realtor, its an equally big decision to take on another property to sell. They need to make their customer happy. They also depend on commission for their livelihood. So why not use a tool such as home staging to help ensure all these risks for everyone will pay off? An insurance policy toward not having any negatives or missed sales or a buyer going to look at another house that looks better (probably because it was staged).

Believe it or not, there are still many people who do not know what home staging is. Home staging is simply preparing one's property for sale with the use of a staging professional. Statistically, 92% of people can not envision themselves living in a home that they are looking at to possibly buy. It is just a fact. Will my bed fit in this bedroom? Will my sectional fit in this living room if I buy this home? Where will I put my dining room set? Do I even need a dining set? Do I even need a dining room? These are the questions that start to swirl in a prospective buyer's head as they are looking at homes to buy.

Professional home staging takes away all of these doubts and swirling questions by correctly purposing spaces within a home. A home filled with sellers' "stuff" and clutter may prohibit many potential buyers from even going to look at the house. In our internet based world, a picture of a listing online will either drive a potential buyer toward or away from even giving a property 5 seconds of attention. THAT is why home staging is important in today's market!

Imagine an empty house built many years ago that has many happy memories engrained in its very walls. The floors might be a little worn. The kitchen looks nice but isnt brand new. Its so pretty to drive up to with all its curb appeal. But, being empty, it is lacking the soul that it always had with the happy families living there. It looks a little tired. So, imagine that same house fully and properly staged- there is a warm rug on the worn floor. There are pretty canisters on the kitchen counter, a bowl of apples and some comfy looking stools in the kitchen too. The second the front door is opened, one sees a home that could embrace them just as it always did when it was filled with life and laughter. This is the true result of home staging. To make a buyer have an emotional connection with what they have walked in to. And then, because they feel good, make an offer to buy the home!

Setting The Space is a home staging company located in Plymouth Massachusetts. It has extensive rental inventory ready to be put in homes anywhere in the country. There are trained staging experts on staff who personally choose a "look" appropriate to a home, who then go and actually place the items in the home. There are many possibilities to achieve a properly staged home depending on budget, necessity, or anything Setting The Space feels will help affect a great sale for the homeowner and realtor.

If you're trying to sell a home and would like to reach out to Boston Power Player and professional stager Blair Hamaty and his team at Seeting the Space you can do so by clicking here or calling 508.746.0600. Just talk to them and explain your situation. Take all the guess work and angst out of the process by letting Setting The Space handle the logistics of getting your home SOLD!

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How Many FICO Scores Do You Really Have?

Posted by Chris Devin June 20, 2014 10:04 AM

True or false: There is only one FICO score

by Nikitas Tsoukalis, President of Key Credit

It's an easy one, right? The correct answer has to be "true." There can only be one FICO score.

Think again. The right answer, according to a new report in CNN Money, is actually "false." If you ask John Ulzheimer, a former manager at FICO, there are actually 49 - count em' 49 - FICO credit scores that a lender can look at. Now, it's important to note that these FICO scores vary by the type of loan that a consumer is seeking. For instance, if someone is applying for an auto loan, the lender would look at the FICO score that is specific to that. For a bank credit card, the lender would look at the FICO score specific to that. Applying for a mortgage? There's a separate FICO score for that. You get the picture - the list goes on and on.

We know what you're thinking: If there's more than one FICO score, then what one exactly are you getting when you request your credit score? When you check your credit score, you're only getting the generic FICO score. Specifically, according to the CNN Money report, your generic FICO score can actually be up to 20 points higher than the score that any lender looks at regarding the type of loan you're applying for. No, there isn't a huge discrepancy between the generic FICO score and one of the other 48 scores a lender could be looking at to judge your risk, so rarely is that aforementioned 20-point swing the difference between approval or rejection. But 20 points may be the difference between a "good" credit score and an "excellent" credit score, meaning that it could impact interest rates.

And, of course, it's also worth noting that they key to a good FICO score - no matter which of the 49 it is - is good credit management. If you're considered a high-risk consumer for one type of loan, chances are you're a high-risk consumer for all types of loans.

Can you find value in a hot market?

Posted by Chris Devin June 19, 2014 04:01 PM

REAL Estate Talk-Boston segment:
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Boston Power Player and top agent out of the Newton/Brookline markets, Matt Montgomery from Hammond Residential was in studio discussing today's real estate environment and how to find value in a hot market.

Matt also shared his insight on the Newton market and why it is a hot spot to buy real estate locally here in the Greater Boston area along with what makes Newton unique to surrounding towns. Click the link below to tune in!\ to hear what Matt has to say...

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If you are buying or selling real estate in the Newton/Brookline area and would like to reach out to Matt Montgomery directly you can do so by going to mjmrealestate.com or clicking here.

Managing Credit Through Divorce

Posted by Chris Devin June 18, 2014 10:01 AM

Managing Credit Through Divorce

by Nikitas Tsoukalis, Key Credit Repair

When you get divorced, the person you thought was “the one” might not be the only thing you lose – your credit score could also suffer! Yes, financial problems have the potential to crop up during a divorce, especially if you’ve co-signed loans with your soon-to-be ex. Divorces can be messy enough, but yes, they can take a toll on your credit too!

With that being said, here’s a look at some ways to manage your FICO score through divorce, so you’re not stuck in a lengthy credit repair plan later:

  • Close or refinance all shared accounts: During a split, courts will divide shared debt through what’s called a divorce decree. But what the courts and lawyers won’t tell you is that these decrees don’t eliminate shared responsibility. For instance, if your ex is tasked with paying the auto loan and misses a payment – the late payment will show up late on your credit report too, hurting your score and staying with you for years! So along the lines of a credit tip, don’t take any chances and refinance any loans that were previously shared if you're able to.

  • Cooperate with your ex: While you’re divorcing for one reason, it’s important to work with your ex on your finances for the sake of not having to repair credit down the line. Hence, along the lines of our first bullet point – not every loan can be refinanced quickly. So for loans that can’t, be sure that you strike a truce with your ex to ensure that payments are made. If they’re not they hurt both of your credit scores. Online accounts and automatic payments are ways to make this easier.

  • Credit monitoring: Divorces can get messy, and there’s no telling what your ex might do to your credit score as a means of revenge if they know of your social security number and financial details. That’s why signing on to a credit monitoring service is a good idea – it’ll immediately make you aware of any changes to your credit data, potentially permitting you to avoid implementing a big debt management plan later for the damages incurred.

Having A Hard Time Financing Your Investment Property?

Posted by Chris Devin June 17, 2014 02:34 PM

REAL Estate Talk-Boston segment:

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Boston Power Player and private equity lender Chris Roche from Commonwealth Equity Funding was in studio discussing private equity bridge financing and how he is able to help savvy real estate investors who are looking to finance an investment property that requires "outside the box" financing. Commonwealth Equity Funding is able to close your loan in as little as 7 to 10 days and is a great option for anyone who is into real estate investing or flipping properties.

Tune in by clicking 6-15-14show_CRoche_seg.mp3 and learn more about private equity bridge financing and how Commonwealth Equity Funding could potentially help you purchase your next investment. If you would like to learn more or inquire about a specific situation you can reach out to Chris Roche directly by calling 617.908.4612 or www.commonwealthequityfunding.com.

Credit Scores and Car Insurance

Posted by Chris Devin June 17, 2014 09:57 AM

Credit Scores and Car Insurance

by Nikitas Tsoukalis, President

Key Credit Repair

While credit scores and credit reports are most commonly associated with loan approvals, there's more than just getting approved for a credit card, auto loan or mortgage that the little three-digit FICO score is used to calculate.

For instance, credit scores are also factored into things like auto insurance premiums. Yes, credit scores count for insurance too, which makes credit repair all the more important and quite the lesser known credit tip.

So just how is a credit score factored into an insurance premium? An insurance provider will typically base premium rates on an insurance score. And this insurance score takes into account your credit history in order to predict your likelihood of being involved in an accident or filing an insurance claim. Studies detail how credit history can be linked to risk and accident potential.

Here's a closer look at a credit-based insurance score and why it's important that you repair credit for more than just good interest rates on loans:

  • The higher your credit score - and thereby your credit-based insurance score - the greater the likelihood that you'll qualify for low auto insurance premiums. Keep in mind that this premium also takes into consideration driving history and the amount of claims on your record.
  • If you have a low credit score, you're more likely to pay more for your auto insurance premium, as you'll likely have a lower overall credit-based insurance score.

If you have less than stellar credit, what can you do to improve it for auto insurance purposes? The same thing you would do to improve it for any other purpose:

  • Make sure payments are on time.
  • Open new credit lines in good standing.
  • Have a favorable credit history (i.e., no collections, missed payments, etc.)
  • Good debt management - try not to accrue more than 30 percent of your total credit line at once.

Yes, good credit is about more than just low interest rates on loans - it can also net you lower auto insurance premiums. So if your credit is lacking, take measures to get your finances in order today.

DEVIN REPORT: Weekly Update On The Mortgage Markets

Posted by Chris Devin June 16, 2014 01:03 PM

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What's going on this week?

Interest rate markets started a little better this morning after trading unchanged last week; the early trade in stock indexes this morning pointed to a slightly lower opening. This week is a huge one for the financial markets with a number of key economic reports but the elephant…. the FOMC meeting that begins tomorrow and concludes on Wednesday at 2:00 with the policy statement. Overwhelming consensus is for another cut of $10B from the Fed’s monthly purchases of MBSs and treasuries and continuing the 0.25% FF rate. This meeting has added interest on how the Fed sees the economic outlook after the World Bank and IMF have lowered their outlook for us growth (IMF out this morning lowering 2014 growth from +2.8% to 2.0%). Immediately after the policy statement the Fed will release its quarterly report on inflation, growth and longer view outlook; the Fed issues the report four times a year; March, June. Sept and Dec. Then at 2:30 Janet Yellen will hold her press conference. Between now and Wednesday afternoon we don’t expect much overall change in the bond or stock market.

The Iraq situation escalated over the weekend with photos of what Sunnis say are pictures of them assassinating Shiite militia; the pictures on every TV station and newspapers this morning. Meanwhile the US is moving some diplomats out of Baghdad to other consulates away from the danger and is beginning talks with Iran about the situation. Iran is a Shiite country and is saying that it will enter the fighting against the Sunnis if they get too close to its border.
At 9:30 the DJIA opened -46, NASDAQ -7, S&P -4; 10 yr note 2.60% unchanged. 30 yr MBS price at 9:30 +5 bp from Friday’s close and 32 bps better than at 9:30 Friday morning.

Earlier this morning at 8:30 the June NY Empire State manufacturing index was better than expected at 19.28 with forecast of 15.0 and better than May’s 19.0 read; the index is the highest in 4 yrs. At 9:15 May industrial production was expected at+0.5% as reported +0.6%, April production was revised from -0.6% to -0.3%, another good report. May capacity utilization, also at 9:15 was better than forecasts at 79.1% compared to 78.9% expected and 78.6% in April. At 10:00, another good report; the June NAHB housing market index was thought to be at 47 from 45 in May, as reported the index jumped to 49 but builders said they still faced headwinds; Like the ISM reports, any reading under 50 is considered contraction).

This Week’s Calendar:
Monday,
8:30 June NY Empire Stat index as reported 19.28
9:15 May industrial production as reported +0.6%; May capacity utilization as reported 79.1%
10:00 am NAHB June housing market index as reported
Tuesday,
8:30 am May housing start (-3.4% at 1.036 mil)
May building permits (-2.7% at 1.062 mil)
May CPI (overall and core both +0.2%)
Wednesday,
7:00 am weekly MBA mortgage applications
8:30 Q1 current account balance (-$99.8B)
2:00 pm FOMC Policy statement
2:30 pm Janet Yellen press conference
Thursday,
8:30 weekly jobless claims (-4K to 313K)
10:00 am June Philly Fed business index (13.0 from 15.4 in May)
May leading economic indicators (+0.6%)

With the FOMC meeting and the Fed’s GDP forecast on Wednesday we don’t look for much overall change between now and then. Iraq will continue to trouble investors as it is likely the situation will get more tenuous before it might calm down. The US is considering use of military force but no troops on the ground according to the President. Obama has ordered an aircraft carrier into the gulf for likely air support of the Shiites. If you sit back and review the various situations in the mid-east and Eastern Europe it isn’t a nice picture; Syria, Israel, Ukraine, Iraq and to a lesser extent Thailand, China and Vietnam---all in various troubling situations; the world is presently facing a lot of global issues that do in one way or the other have a direct impact on investor thinking.

How Rates Move:
Conventional and Government (FHA and VA) lenders set their rates based on the pricing of Mortgage-Backed Securities (MBS) which are traded in real time, all day in the bond market. This means rates or loan fees (mortgage pricing) moves throughout the day, being affected by a variety of economic or political events. When MBS pricing goes up, mortgage rates or pricing generally goes down. When they fall, mortgage pricing goes up. Tracking these securities real-time is critical. For more information about the rate market, contact me directly. I’m among few mortgage professionals who have access to live trading screens during market hours.

Rates Currently Trending: Neutral

Rates last week worsened slightly, as reported by Sigma Research. The overall worsening for last week for the MBS market was -39 basis points, which may mean a slight worsening in mortgage pricing.

This Week's Rate Forecast: Neutral

This Week's Potential Volatility: High

Sigma Research says there will be lots of economic data this week that is likely to have a great effect on the bond market, and that overseas issues will play a strong role. Volatility will be high as the markets and mortgage pricing are likely to move on any large deviations of expected economic news. Remember, there are always unforeseen events that may arise which are not expected. We'll be keeping an eye on all breaking news related to mortgage pricing.

Bottom Line: If you are looking for the risks and benefits of locking your interest rate in today or floating your loan rate, contact your mortgage professional to discuss it with them.

If you have any questions about interest rates or your purchase or refinance scenario, feel free to reach out to Chris Devin and his team at Guaranteed Rate directly at 781.616.1350 or by clicking here.
NMLS license# MA-47305.

Bad Credit: How Much Does a Bad Score Really Cost You?

Posted by Chris Devin June 16, 2014 10:11 AM

Bad Credit: How Much Does a Bad Score Really Cost You?

by Nikitas Tsoukalis, President Key Credit Repair

Common sense will tell you that having a good credit score is much better than having a poor credit score, as far as loan approval and interest rates go. But do you really know how much a bad score can really cost you? You might be surprised.

Take a 30-year mortgage for example. Now take a good credit score (680-699), an excellent credit score (740+) and a poor credit score (620-639). Here's a look at the breakdown of possible costs over the course of a hypothetical $200,000 home loan:

  • Excellent credit (4.025 percent): A likely monthly payment of $958, which equates to an $11,493 annual cost and a $344,798 lifetime cost.
  • Good credit (4.974 percent): A monthly cost of $1,070, annual cost of $12,846 and lifetime cost of $385,368.
  • Poor credit (5.418 percent): A monthly cost of $1,133, annual cost of $13,598 and lifetime cost of $407,950.

As you can see, having an excellent credit score can save you up to $113 per month and $40,591 over just having a "good" credit score over the course of a 30-year mortgage. And an excellent score can save you $175 per month and $63,173 over a "poor" credit score. Hence, taking measures to repair credit before financing such a significant purchase is crucial to your short- and long-term finances.

So just what are some credit tips to repair a poor score?

  • On-time payments
  • Keeping debt within 30 percent of your total credit allotment
  • Having a diversity of different credit
  • Having a lengthy credit history

As if having a favorable credit score wasn't important enough, the above examples certainly place even more significance on the importance of credit repair and debt management if you're in a financial bind. As the above examples show, a good credit score could mean the difference of tens of thousands of dollars over the course of a long-term loan. That's a lot of money that you surely could put toward other purchases and a big incentive to take measures to improve your credit score today.

Credit Repair Blunder: Why You Shouldn't Co-Sign on a Loan

Posted by Chris Devin June 16, 2014 09:49 AM

Credit Repair Blunder: Co-signing on  Loan

by Nikitas Tsoukalis, President

www.keycreditrepair.com 





Credit isn't exactly easy to come by these days. And if you happen to have a good credit score, there's a chance that sooner or later you'll be approached by a friend or family member and asked to co-sign on a loan or credit card for them. By doing so, the person with poor or limited credit is able to leverage your positive score for a better interest rate. But is credit a win for you, the co-signer, as well?

The answer: Not necessarily. While you agreeing to be a co-signer is likely done with nothing but good intentions, the outcome could turn out to be far from favorable for you. We're talking a decreased credit score, collection agencies coming after you and even potential lawsuits. Here's a closer look at why you should think twice about co-signing on a loan:

  • Lower credit limit: Like we said in the opening, credit is limited these days. So if you co-sign on a loan, you're debt ratio might get too high. Not only is this unfavorable for your financial situation - after all, you're responsible for the debt - but it can lower your overall score, resulting in credit repair to get your score back up to what it was.
  • Missed payment: Is the person you're co-signing for reliable? We ask because if the person misses a payment, the collection agency can come after you for it. It's not what a lot of people have in mind when they agree to co-sign, but unfortunately it becomes a common reality.
  • Lawsuits: As a co-signer, you're just as responsible for the debt as the other signee. So if the other signee defaults on the loan payment, you could potentially be sued for the amount owed. 

Simply put, if we're offering credit tips, we'd advise you to co-sign with caution. If you're approached by a reliable person who has a limited credit history or finances or you are trying to help out your child with his or her first car loan, that's one thing. But if you're approached by someone you know is shady and unreliable, that's a whole different story. So co-sign with caution - because if you're not aware of the consequences, you could end up on a lengthy quest to repair credit and enact a debt management plan to cover for someone else's blunder.

For more information on what to do and not do regarding your credit you can contact Key Credit at 617-265-7900 to request a free consultation.

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Credit Repair Blunder-Co-signing

Posted by Chris Devin June 10, 2014 05:04 PM

Co-Signing-The Ultimate Credit Repair Blunder

by Nikitas Tsoukalis, KeyCreditRepair.com

Credit isn't exactly easy to come by these days. And if you happen to have a good credit score, there's a chance that sooner or later you'll be approached by a friend or family member and asked to co-sign on a loan or credit card for them. By doing so, the person with poor or limited credit is able to leverage your positive score for a better interest rate. But is credit a win for you, the co-signer, as well?

The answer: Not necessarily. While you agreeing to be a co-signer is likely done with nothing but good intentions, the outcome could turn out to be far from favorable for you. We're talking a decreased credit score, collection agencies coming after you and even potential lawsuits. Here's a closer look at why you should think twice about co-signing on a loan:

  • Lower credit limit: Like we said in the opening, credit is limited these days. So if you co-sign on a loan, you're debt ratio might get too high. Not only is this unfavorable for your financial situation - after all, you're responsible for the debt - but it can lower your overall score, resulting in credit repair to get your score back up to what it was.
  • Missed payment: Is the person you're co-signing for reliable? We ask because if the person misses a payment, the collection agency can come after you for it. It's not what a lot of people have in mind when they agree to co-sign, but unfortunately it becomes a common reality.
  • Lawsuits: As a co-signer, you're just as responsible for the debt as the other signee. So if the other signee defaults on the loan payment, you could potentially be sued for the amount owed. 

Simply put, if we're offering credit tips, we'd advise you to co-sign with caution. If you're approached by a reliable person who has a limited credit history or finances or you are trying to help out your child with his or her first car loan, that's one thing. But if you're approached by someone you know is shady and unreliable, that's a whole different story. So co-sign with caution - because if you're not aware of the consequences, you could end up on a lengthy quest to repair credit and enact a debt management plan to cover for someone else's blunder.

For more information on how to repair your credit after a bad co-sign scenario contact our team at 617-265-7900.

Should A Seller Get A Home Inspection?

Posted by Chris Devin June 10, 2014 12:00 PM
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By: Wayne Czybora

As a home inspector, it is very common for me to discover many, many issues during a typical home inspection and most (if not all) of the issues are actually minor concerns. However, the problem with a report that consists of this many problems is that it can be totally overwhelming to a prospective buyer.

I looked at a typical home inspection report which I did recently and counted 81 problems. That’s right, 81 problems with the house. I then went through the report again and the “biggest” problems that I encountered were (1) The attic needs soffit vents and (2) Active water penetration observed in basement.

Now, if you don’t want to pay more than $800.00 to have a contractor install soffit vents, that is understandable but as far as water entering the basement, this problem alone could probably be resolved by removing the debris from the gutters so the water doesn’t overflow, extending the downspouts at least 4 feet away from the house and adding some soil at the foundation area to create a downward slope away from the house so the water is sent away from the house instead of toward the house. Now, it doesn’t take much money and/or effort to solve this particular problem, does it?

In addition to the minor drainage issues mentioned above, here is a list of some of the other minor issues I found:

• Exterior spigot handle is damaged
• Loose bricks at top of chimney
• A few of the doors do not latch
• Some of the kitchen cabinets doors need adjusting
• Exhaust filters at microwave need cleaning
• Toilet tank leaks due to missing hose inside tank
• Leaking observed at showerhead
• Bath exhaust fan vents into attic
• Handrail needed at front entrance
• Some of the latches are loose at windows
• Dirty air filter at furnace
• Trim shrubbery away from A/C condenser
• Several loose electrical outlets observed
• Ground fault circuit interrupters are needed at kitchen counters

If you plan on selling your home, it is a wise decision to hire a home inspector before you put your house on the market. That way you will find out all of the minor repairs that are needed so you can take care of them ahead of time. This will ensure that you don’t send the buyer “running for the hills”!

For more information on home inspections you can reach out to Wayne Czybora directly by clicking here.

60 Seconds To Sell??

Posted by Chris Devin June 10, 2014 11:05 AM

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REAL Estate Talk-Boston segment:

Local real estate Danny Griffin from Griffin Realty Group was in studio to talk about his new show "60 Seconds To Sell" which is premiering on A&E on June 14th at 12PM EST.

Click 6-7-14show_DGriffin60SecsToSell.mp3 to tune in and hear how "60 Seconds To Sell" on A&E flips the traditional process of selling a home and changes it by come from the bottom up by taking price off the table completely...and let the buyers determine where it should trade within a few percent. Tune in for the premiere on A&E on June 14th at 12PM!

Are You Intimidated By The Mortgage Process??

Posted by Chris Devin June 4, 2014 03:51 PM

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Is this your first time getting a mortgage? Does the home loan process confuse or stress you out? Don’t worry - our free "Demystifying The Mortgage Process" eBook is here to help. It’s chock-full of jargon-free information on the entire mortgage process, and explains how to shop for a mortgage, the importance of a good credit score, how lenders figure out what you can afford, all the steps of the mortgage process and more. Download it now – it’s free.

If you are in the market to buy a new home or refinance your current residence and are looking for some local, expert advice...you can reach out to the Devin Group at Guaranteed Rate directly by calling 781.616.1350 or apply online by clicking here. NMLS#47305.

tags Mortgage

No House Is Perfect

Posted by Chris Devin June 4, 2014 07:15 AM

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By Wayne Czybora

After 18 years of inspecting, I have yet to find a house that did not have any problems. That’s right, even brand new houses will have some problems, although they are usually minor. That is the key word here, “MINOR”.

Sometimes buyers can get overwhelmed with the amount of problems that are found at a typical home inspection. Now, if there are one or two significant problems, then that is a different story. What I am talking about here is a long list of problems that are simply not a big deal at all and it is up to the home inspector to make sure his clients understand this. Otherwise, he is not doing his job properly and this can lead to buyers walking away from a house that could actually be just right for them.

The following are some of the items that I am constantly noting at my inspections.

Downspouts should extend farther away from the house…Attic needs more insulation…
Loose handrail…Shrubbery should be trimmed away from house…Improper soil slope at foundation…Chimney needs re-pointing…Gutters need cleaning…Fireplace flue needs cleaning…Outlet should be GFCI-protected…Slow draining at tub…Loose outlet observed.

So, my message to buyers out there, don’t be alarmed if your inspector mentions a lot of “problems”. What really matters is whether any of these problems have any real significance from a cost standpoint. And if you are not clear on this issue, make sure you ask the home inspector if any of these issues are costly repairs. He is not allowed to get into cost estimates but he should be able to tell you what is a major problem and what is minor. After all, you are paying him to give you as much information as possible so that you can make a sound, confident home-buying decision. Make sure your questions are answered!
Read more...

If you are looking to have a home inspection done or have questions about your home you can reach out to expert and Boston Power Player Wayne Czybora directly by clicking here.


Practical Kitchen Design Tips

Posted by Chris Devin May 29, 2014 09:25 PM

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By: Ty Pennington

I love entertaining and cooking for my friends and family, so the kitchen is one area in my home that needs to have flow and flair. Some design solutions require a bit of work and others just need a little creativity.

Keep reading for a few of my quick design tips to upgrade your kitchen space.

Knock down and open up

Being filled with storage, cabinets and appliances can make your kitchen space seem a bit cramped. Consider adding flow into adjacent dining rooms by knocking down, if possible.

Define a focal point

Similar to your entryway [ink http://typennington.com/inspired-interiors-entryways/] and pretty much every room in your house, your kitchen should have a focal point. Something visually interesting that attracts the eye the moment you enter the room. Some great and “out of the box” focal points for the kitchen can be a dramatic tiled backsplash, a stainless steel range hood, or a creative and complimentary piece of art.

Create contrast

However you’re going to do it, just be sure to offer a contrast in your kitchen design. You can do this with the cabinets and appliances, flooring and textiles, ceramics [link http://typennington.com/excuse-me-your-ceramics-are-showing/] and countertops. Creating a contrast will help brighten up your space and add some clean dimensions.

Be smart about storage

It’s always nice to have slide-out pantry drawers and an appliance garage; these innovations in design have serious potential to maximize your space! But you can also get creative with custom shelving, hanging your pots/pans above your countertop space, or utilizing “awkward kitchen space” [link http://typennington.com/design-dilemma-maximizing-empty-kitchen-space/] to your advantage.

For more of Ty’s décor tips, visit http://typennington.com/

Your First Mortgage

Posted by Chris Devin May 21, 2014 02:47 PM

Learn what you need to know when shopping for a mortgage.
Written by Nicole Gates and Selene Garcia
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Buying your first home can certainly be intimidating but we’ve put together a list of the first five steps you should take when shopping for a mortgage. Knowing how to shop for a mortgage will ensure you are doing business with a trustworthy mortgage professional who will educate you about your mortgage loan options.
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Your First Step: Research Mortgage Programs

Decide what kind of mortgage program you prefer. You will need to consider the purpose of your purchase (i.e., simply a starter home or a home to grow into). Getting clear on the purpose of your purchase will help you determine whether you need a fixed or adjustable rate program.

A fixed rate allows you to take advantage of current rates and keep it for the duration of the loan despite market changes. Adjustable rate mortgages are great options if you are clear about how long you will keep the home. Rates for ARMs are much lower than fixed rate loans; however, after the fixed period your rate will adjust and your payment will change.

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Your Second Step: Shop Rate and Fees

The most popular method to shop rates and fees is to use the Annual Percentage Rate. While this method is effective it does not offer an itemized list of all fees. If you are interested in a more comprehensive list ask for a Good Faith Estimate (GFE).

The good faith estimate is an easy-to-read document which outlines all of the fees incurred when attaining mortgage financing.

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Your Third Step: Work with a Trustworthy Company

Use the internet to your advantage and read through consumer reviews – customer reviews will give you an idea of what to expect. Your research may also unveil a well-known, experienced mortgage professional that will be a good fit for you.

Some of the sites you can check include: Better Business Bureau, Yelp, Google+ and the company About Us page. Finally, ask your friends and family for recommendations!

Your Fourth Step: Healthy Credit

While there are other factors which impact your rate (down-payment and the type of property you are purchasing) your credit score has a direct impact on not only your rate but your ability to qualify for a mortgage.

Check your credit and resolve any credit challenges right away. It’s a common misconception that pulling your credit is damaging to your credit score. The truth is, if you pull your credit it has no impact on your score – no really. The following two sites will allow you to pull your credit reports for free: Credit Karma and Annual Credit Report.

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Your Fifth Step: Know How Much House You Can Afford

Be realistic about what you can afford – don’t be a slave to your mortgage. There are plenty of mortgage calculators available which will help you determine the right purchase price for your budget and financial goals.

That’s it. In five easy steps you can be approved for a mortgage and well on your way to homeownership. To learn more, check out Demystifying the Mortgage Process – our FREE eBook explains the mortgage process providing you with a jargon-free, user friendly explanation of a seemingly convoluted process.

If you would like to speak with Chris Devin and our team at the Devin Group directly you can do so by clicking here.