Articles Tagged "Credit Score"

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April
11

How to Protect Yourself From Phishing Scams

Tips to Avoid Phishing

When you're buying a home, you often have a full to-do list. You have to arrange financing for your new home and get your old property prepared to sell or move out of. It's likely that you have multiple things demanding your attention; this, unfortunately, can make you susceptible to phishing scams.

A phishing scam is a scam that uses a text message, phone call, or email to trick people into revealing their sensitive information. The scammer makes the scam message appear as if it's from a company that you know, like your bank, credit card company, a retailer, or even a government entity.

Once you click the link or contact the scammer with your info, they're able to use it to access your financial accounts or potentially open financial products in your name. The scammers can then run up debt in your name or steal your money. 

Phishing scams can even be real estate related to trick would-be homeowners into revealing their info in hopes of navigating the home buying process. Our real estate agents recommend following these tips to protect yourself from phishing scams. 

  • Never Reply to a Suspicious Text or Email
    If you receive a text or email that claims there's a problem, don't reply to the message. The scammer wants you to worry and immediately reply. Instead, look up the phone number for the company that the message claims to be from (using a reputable source, like the company's official webpage). Then, call the company directly to see if there's an issue with your account. This guideline also applies to phone calls you receive requesting information to correct a "problem." Hang up, and call the company back using the number that you locate on their official website. Don't depend on your caller ID to vet a company; it's possible for scammers to spoof information so that the name and number appear to be authentic. When preparing to buy one of the Sarasota homes for sale, these guidelines also apply. You don't want to provide information that can compromise your identity or result in the theft of your savings when you're trying to buy a home. 
  • Avoid Clicking on Links or Attachments
    Never click on links or attachments that are in a potential phishing message. Links and attachments can download tracking software to your device that will steal your information. 
  • Keep Your Software and Operating Systems Updated
    While exploring Bradenton homes for sale, it's important to keep your devices updated. Check that your mobile devices and computers are scheduled to automatically update your software. Operating software frequently receives patches to fix potential security bugs. You should also confirm that your computer has updated antivirus software. 
  • Know the Warning Signs That Something is Off
    There are often a few warning signs that indicate something is off with a message. Typically, there are spelling and grammar errors in the message. While the message may initially appear to be from a reputable company, there are usually things that reveal it's a scam. The website may slightly vary from the company's official webpage, or the email address the message is sent from isn't the company's authentic address. The business's name may also be misspelled. Reputable companies don't usually ask for sensitive information via text message, email, or phone. 

Following these tips can help you avoid a phishing scam. One of the best ways to protect yourself from real estate phishing scams is to have an experienced agent in your corner, helping you out through the process. Contact us today!

April
6

Right on the Money | Getting Your Finances in Order to Buy a Home

Getting Your Finances in Order to Buy a Home

Get Right on the Money to Buy a Home
Preparing to purchase your first home starts long before you choose a REALTOR® or fill out a loan application form. You've probably started the process without even knowing it by graduating from school, accepting your first job, and financing a car.

There's something you should know before we get started: lenders typically base their loan approval on two things:  

  1. a buyer's ability to make an acceptable down payment and
  2. the buyer's credit profile.  A good credit profile shows the person's ability to make timely, ongoing monthly payment.

Before you begin the loan application process, it's important to get your finances in order to buy your first home.

Save for a Down Payment

Saving for a down payment is hard, but it is worth the effort. A more substantial down payment will give you better interest rates and more options. The amount of your down payment increases or decreases the risk the lender takes when providing the financing for your house. The larger the down payment, the less chance of losing part of their investment.A good rule of thumb is to save at least 20 percent of the purchase price of a home.  By doing this, you'll receive better mortgage and interest rate options--and avoid the extra cost of private mortgage insurance (PMI).  

Following a monthly budget will allow you to save enough money for your down payment. Designate a savings account fund earmarked for your down payment.  Once you buy your home that same money-saving discipline will help you save enough money to make your monthly mortgage payments.

Your Credit Score

Lenders use your credit score to determine how likely you are to pay your bills in a timely manner.  Typically, the higher your credit score, the better interest rate you may be able to obtain.  A person's credit score is based on information about your credit history taking into consideration factors like the amount and type of debt and late payments.  

You can order your credit report from Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion. They will all be slightly different, so look at each report. You can order free copies once a year from www.annualcreditreport.com. Look for any inaccuracies and report them to the credit reporting agency. Fixing mistakes takes time, so start this process as early as you can.

Getting your finances in order prepares you to impress mortgage loan reviewers and qualify for the financing you need to buy your first home.  Contact Wagner Realty to get your home search started.

Contact Wagner Realty

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