One of my favorite times of my week is Sunday morning when I get to lounge on the couch while my family spoils me. I get to sit on the couch and watch the cooking channel, while reading the paper and eating breakfast. I usually keep my laptop nearby so I can report any interesting articles I read to you all. Today’s Sunday Oregonian had several good articles in the Business section for me to write about this week.
Brent Hunsberger’s front page article “You are not our credit score” (http://blog.oregonlive.com/finance/2010/02/you_are_not_your_credit_score.html ) goes into detail on how the down economy has thrown a wrench the FICO credit scoring system. Most individuals were not able to avoid the downturn of the economy during the recent past. In the article quotes Fair Isaac Corp “Consumers with high FICO scores (we’re talking 760 to 789) are now more likely to default on their home loan than on their unsecured credit card debt.” Why?
With so many home owners finding themselves upside down on their home loans they are deciding that the best option is to just walk away and start over. A friend of mine was asking me for some advice last week because he has a rental home in Las Vegas that he purchased during the height of the market for close to $300,000 and he found out that a neighbor recently sold their home for $70,000. He’s one of the few that can actually make the payment he committed to in the loan, but he is scared because the rate lock expires this fall and the rate will begin to adjust. The finance company will not talk to him about refinancing or adjusting his loan unless he’s late on his payments. The only advice I could give him was to be persistent and continue to call the finance company until they are willing to work with him. I also suggested he find out what the laws in Nevada are for collecting the remaining balance on short sales in case he decided that he just has to sell it.
He asked me about some of the companies that market themselves as “consumer protection agencies” and say they will work with the finance company for you to get your mortgage adjusted. He said he called one and they said they would help for the “low rate” (please note my sarcasm here) of $3,000. There have been many companies that have preyed on consumers in several different ways marketing they can fix your credit or financial position. These companies even if they are legit in what they are doing do not do anything that the consumer couldn’t do themselves with little effort for free. Plus, these companies cannot guarantee results. So my advice….STAY AWAY! You money is better spent paying down your debt or better establishing your emergency fund.
Wow, this blog ended up going a totally different direction than I expected. I think I’ll stop for now and pick this up tomorrow. There is more I’d like to discuss relating to credit scores because I really haven’t even scratched the surface on this topic that I am very passionate about.