Credit Hacks to Improve Your Score + What’s Happening in Atlanta JAN 2016January 21, 2016 catalysthometeam
Happy New year Atlanta! If you’re on my mailing list, hopefully you received a fun little New Year’s card in the mail. I certainly hope your year is starting off strong! It’s January 2016 and it’s time for an update on what’s happening around Atlanta.
As everyone anticipated, Georgia State University and Atlanta-based developers Carter and Oakwood Development have been selected to become the new owners of Turner Field and the surrounding parking lots. They have plans to spend $300 million dollars to turn Turner Field into a college football stadium and the adjacent parking lots into student housing, retail, and some greenspace. There is also the possibility GSU will build a second stadium on the property. I, personally, am sad to say goodbye to Turner Field. I love the views of the skyline from inside the stadium, and I love the history that property and the surrounding areas hold for our Braves team. I hope GSU taking ownership will help revitalize the surrounding areas.
Our tip of the month is discussing a few credit score hacks that will help you increase your credit score so that you can obtain a better interest rate for home mortgages or car loans. Many people have heard or seen creditkarma.com advertised as a great source. Unfortunately, their scoring system is not very accurate and therefore it isn’t a reliable source to check your credit score. Their credit reports are easy to read, though, so it is a good place to monitor your report. But if you want to find a score that is accurate, the best site to use is www.annualcreditreport.com. As a reminder, each person is allowed one “freebie” score pull once per year, so make sure you are utilizing this site and tracking your credit score. We often find mistakes on credit reporting that are easily taken care of, if done in a timely manner.
Also, check out www.optoutprescreen.com as a way to opt out of all that junk you get in the mail for credit cards. It is like a “do not call list” for soft credit pulls for pre approved credit card offers. Opting out will raise your score 10-15 points, even though the credit bureaus say these don’t affect your score. You have the option to opt out from receiving offers for five years on their website, or for life if you mail their form in.
Our last hack is clearing if keeping a balance on your card is good for your score. That can be true and also not true, depending on your balance. When your balance vs credit limit ratio rises above 50%, that account turns into a negative account on your credit report. When your balance is maxed out, that’s a really negative account. For example: if you have a $1,000 credit limit, paying down your balance below $500 could cause your credit score to go up by as much as 100 points.
The last bit of information I want to throw your way this month is about the rental market in Atlanta. Several friends and clients have asked me lately if the amount by which their rent is increasing is fair for the market. I just saw a report that rent for a 1-bedroom apartment in Atlanta, GA jumped 3 percent from December 2015 to January 2016. That is an added $500-$1000 extra a year in rent for just a one bedroom home- even higher for 3 bedrooms or more! There are several factors behind the high demand and low inventory on rentals in Atlanta, and I’m happy to share those with you any time. The bottom line today though is…even though inventory is low on the sale side of the market too, with interest rates so affordable, it might be more financially savvy long term for you to buy a home than to continue to pay higher rent amounts over the next few years. Otherwise, look for rental rates to continue to rise to crazy levels. If you’re rent hasn’t increased in the last year or two, consider yourself blessed and highly favored 🙂
Let me know if I can answer any questions about anything I’ve covered today! I’d love to serve you in your home selling or buying needs!
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