The Mortgage Coach


he vineyards are pruned and carpeted with bright yellow mustards and brilliant green grass. All the orchards and vineyards wait patiently for warmer days to signal their next cycle. Spring is just around the corner and the start of another home buying season begins. Are you ready? First

thing you need is

know how much you can af- ford. Keep your income docu- ments handy; w-2s, paystubs, tax returns, and current bank statements. But the one thing you need to keep on track is


Ongoing 2019 by Barry O'Meara of Santa Rosa, CA •

your credit score. Your credit score will determine what loan program will best serve you and what interest rate you may end up with. Faster than Wi- Fi! More power- ful than a “Super Pac”! Our credit scores leap into our lives, and cast hurdles in our paths. Each month, our per- sonal informa- tion is compiled, digitalized, and into

transformed a three-

digit number. This number is called our “FICO Score”, and weighs heavily on our ability to obtain the lowest interest rate, land the best employ-

ment, or even rent that perfect house. Passed by Congress in 1971, the Fair Credit Re- porting Act (FCRA) and all of its amendments, have been instrumental

in protecting

us from abuses of the Credit Reporting Agencies (CRA). These agencies consist of three bureaus: Equifax, Expe- rian, and Transunion. The in- formation the CRA compiles uses the Fair Isaac Corpora- tion (FICO) scoring model. These bureaus then generate a number between 300 and 850. This number will be used to predict whether or not you’re a good credit risk. What is your FICO? This is a moving number. How- ever, with caution we can keep our scores high. Hav-

ing your credit checked too often, or carrying too much debt, all affects your final score. The model developed by Fair Isaac breaks the scor- ing into five categories: pay- ment history; amount owed; length of history; new credit; and types of credit. Six- ty-five percent of the scoring is weighed on payment his- tory and how much we owe. So, with that knowledge, it makes sense if you pay your bills on time and don’t max out your credit limits, your scores should be pretty high. The rule of thumb is to keep your credit card balance to 1/3 of your limit, never be late on a payment, and only apply for credit if you need it. If you

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Sonoma Valley Certified Farmers’ Market

Sonoma, CA. ~ Produce from California Farmers! Fridays year-round from 9 AM to 12:30 PM in the Arnold Field Parking Lot, 241 First Street West, across the street from the Depot Hotel.


comes not from age, but from education and

learning.” Anton Chekhov

“Poetry heals the wounds inflicted by reason.” ~ Novalis

UPBEAT TIMES, INC. • March 2019 • Pg 11

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