Reader Question: Can You Refinance a Mortgage with Bad Credit

In the world of personal finance, there are easy questions and not so easy questions. Today’s reader question from Debra falls into the latter category: I would like to know if and where it is possible to refinance your mortgage from 5.25% down to the current low with bad credit and $70,000 equity. Don’t qualify […]

Published or Updated: June 18, 2014

Credit Scores and Fannie Mae–What You Need to Know

FICO Score Distribution

Here are three facts about mortgage applications that at first glance are difficult to reconcile: Fact 1: Mortgage rates are at historic lows. Fact 2: Real Estate prices have fallen substantially over the past few years. Fact 3: The number of mortgage applications over the past 2 months are DOWN. So what’s going on here? […]

Published or Updated: October 28, 2012

A Rare Glimpse Inside the FICO Credit Score Formula

FICO Score Factors

Like the formula for Coca-Cola , the FICO credit scoring formula is a closely guarded secret. The Fair Isaac Corporation, however, does give us a glimpse into the secret sauce from time to time. For example, Fair Isaac has disclosed what factors go into its scoring model and the weight to be given each factor: […]

Published or Updated: April 30, 2012

Which FICO Scores Do Mortgage Lenders Use?

As I’ve mentioned before, I’ve been on a refinancing binge. My wife and I have refinanced our home twice in the last 12 months, and my business partner and I are doing the same with three rental properties. With mortgage rates at an all time low, these deals were just too good to pass up. […]

Published or Updated: June 18, 2014

FICO vs. FAKO–Does it Matter?

Recently a number of readers have dismissed free credit score services like Quizzle and Credit Sesame, noting that these services don’t provide you with your “official” FICO score. The argument goes like this. These FAKO scores, as they’re called, don’t show you the actual credit score that lenders will use. Therefore, the scores are worthless. […]

Published or Updated: April 3, 2014

Minimum Credit Score to Qualify for an FHA Loan

My sister recently signed a contract to buy a home. Given the market and interest rates, she got a great deal. And she’s financing the purchase with an FHA loan. So it seemed timely to talk about the minimum credit score you need to qualify for an FHA mortgage. As a quick review, an FHA […]

Published or Updated: February 9, 2012

Cash or Credit – How Should You Pay?

Using Cash

Photo: Rareclass Trying to figure out the best way to manage your money takes some careful thought. One money management question we face everyday is deceptively simple–should you pay with cash or credit. On the surface the choice between paying with cash or using a credit card seems straightforward. Many of us make this decision […]

Published or Updated: January 17, 2012

Comparison of Layway Plans from 5 Major Retailers

Screen-Shot-2011-12-12-at-11.55.39-AM

Photo: Irargerch Is layaway smart? According to Senator Charles Schumer (NY) layaway programs are deceptive and misleading. Senator Schumer is prepared to take on layaway programs with the same force that he used to take on the credit card companies. Schumer is the one who put the legislation in place that now requires credit card […]

Published or Updated: December 16, 2011

Get A Totally Free Credit Score from Credit Sesame

Credit Sesame

It wasn’t until a few years ago that a consumer could obtain their credit score without entering their credit card information.  Most credit monitoring services would offer a “free trial”, ready to charge the day after the trial expires.  Now, anyone can obtain their  Experian credit score for free, without entering payment information by signing […]

Published or Updated: December 20, 2011