When you apply for a vehicle loan or mortgage, your lender will look at your credit score to determine your risk compared to other consumers. If you know you have an excellent credit score, consider taking advantage of your excellent score, you may be able to negotiate a better interest rate.


Your credit score is a calculation from your credit report which is based on; payment history, credit utilization, length of credit history, credit diversity and number of hard inquiries. Credit Scores ranges from 300 – 900, with 300 being poor and 900 excellent.


Let’s take a look at each factor that makes up your credit report:


Payment History

Extremely important and accounts for approximately 35% of your score. Any missed or late payments may drop your score. If you are having trouble paying your bill, contact your lender right away. Even if you have to dispute a charge, it is wise to pay the bill now and resolve it later to keep your credit rating up.


Credit Utilization

Credit utilization is approximately 30% of your credit score. This is the average credit you use each month compared to the amount of credit you have available. 

E.g. A credit card with a $5K limit and average borrowing amount of $1K is 20% usage. Add up all of your available credit (credit card limits, line of credit) and try to use less than 35% of your available credit each month. Maxing out your credit cards will bring down your score. The best approach is to ask for a credit increase (but don’t increase your spending).


Credit History

Your credit history makes up about 15% of your credit score. Consider keeping that old credit card or line of credit even if you don’t use it often. If you’ve thought about closing your old line of credit due to lack of use, think again, keeping it will help to retain your credit history and also your credit utilization (the amount of money you have at your disposal versus what you are using – the higher your disposal the better).


Credit Diversity

This accounts for approximately 10% of your credit score. It’s always best to have several types of credit such as a line of credit, car loan, and credit card. This variety may improve your credit score as it indicates to the credit bureau that you are a good borrower and can handle several payments.


Hard Inquiries

Hard inquires make up about 10% of your credit score. When a lender or bank checks your credit report it is considered a hard inquiry. This may occur when you apply for any new credit.  If you have a large number of hard inquiries (hits) to your report, creditors will wonder why you are applying to so many places at once, so it is best to limit the number of times you apply for credit. If you are shopping around for a new vehicle or mortgage, try to do all your inquires within a short time-span such as two weeks so it’s deemed as one hit to your credit score.  If, however you order your own credit check, it is considered a soft hit and will not affect your credit rating.


Credit Scores

800 - 900 Excellent

720 - 799 Very Good

650 - 719 Good

600 - 649 Fair

300 - 599 Poor


Join me Next Week when I discuss how you can improve your Credit Rating

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In a nutshell, if you are a homeowner and over the age of 55, you can access up to 55% of your homes equity and receive the funds in two basic scenarios; a one-time lump sum payment or monthly payouts.

 

Many people are using their reverse mortgage to enter into early retirement, pay off debt, increase their investment portfolio or help loved ones enter the housing market. If you have children, you may have a plan set out for what they will inherit. How rewarding would it be, to help them now, rather than later.

 

As with standard mortgages, there are some fees involved with obtaining a reverse mortgage. These include; an appraisal of your property, legal advice, closing costs and administration fees. And most importantly, a reverse mortgage also allows you to maintain ownership and title and control of your home, but keep in mind, the lender would be listed on title as a first mortgage.

 

The mortgage amount is only payable when you sell or move, and is based on the original principle balance plus accrued interest. Historically, your equity in your home will continue to grow, and is usually higher than the interest accrual.

 

Contact your financial institution to see if a reverse mortgage may be the right decision for you or your parents.

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Tiny Gardens

Do you like fresh fruit and veggies? Imagine having them at your doorstep, even if your doorstep leads to a small deck or patio. You can grow quite a lot in a shallow space along the railings with the right planters.


One positive thing many have recognized in the last 7 months is healthy eating. Many of us that previously ate out several times per week have started to explore the art of cooking and finding happiness in the preparation and experience of new cuisine and building their cooking skills.


A large part of the attraction of cooking your own food is controlling the type and quality of the ingredients. For many, this may start with growing your own herbs and vegetables. Imagine being able to pick fresh herbs or tomatoes for that new dish you want to try, just steps from your door.   This makes cooking much more fun and exciting, new tastes will explode in your mouth, you’ll never want those canned tomatoes again, unless of course you’re canning tomatoes you have grown yourself!


When considering what to plant, first look at your outdoor space and type of sun exposure. Even the area outside your front door could get in on the action. If you have plenty of sun, you can even grow something in a decorative pot so it looks cute as well as being edible.


Most gardens require at least 6 to 8 hours of direct sunlight, so you may need to rearrange your BBQ and patio furniture to allow access to those life-giving sunbeams.  If you don’t receive a lot of sun you may want to grow greens and herbs as they require less sunlight.


To make your endeavors sustainable, make sure you have the correct set up. Will it be convenient and easy to water your plants? Will you have to carry jugs of water from the kitchen sink, or can you rig up a soaker hose system. Another option is to purchase self-watering planters.


Soil is another key factor for raised garden beds or planting pots. It is best to purchase soil specifically designed for planters. This type holds and releases moisture as the plant requires it. Keep in mind that your planters should also have drain holes to prevent the soil from staying too wet and developing mold.


There are so many interesting and creative ways to grow your goodies in containers. Vertical planters work well at utilizing smaller spaces, even a simple ladder would hold several small pots and add color to your space, or hang a chain of planters from the underside of your balcony overhang.


Also, in order to get a jump on next season, plant your seeds indoors even as early as mid-January to give them a head start, it’ll give you something to nuture during the rainy days ahead, and something to look forward to as new shoots sprout from the dirt below.


Have fun and let me know what interesting fruits and veggies you’ve managed to grow, I’d love to see your garden!

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Are you planning a move, do you know where you want to live?


There are so many interesting neighbourhoods in the Greater Vancouver area that it’s almost impossible to know them all. Inside those neighbourhoods, it’s very possible to find those “hidden pockets”, but you may need to do some footwork.


If you are limiting your search to a specific area or city, what are your reasons? Is it close to work, family, transit or perhaps it has to do with familiarity?


Consider taking trips out to various areas and take the time to walk and explore. How do you feel walking down the street, is it well lit in the evening, are the people you encounter friendly, does it give you a good vibe? How is the noise and traffic? Can you visualize yourself living there?


It’s also good to visit the areas at different times and days of the week including the weekend. Does it have enough parking for your family and friends when they visit, and how is the transit? Do you need to be in a specific school catchment or be able to walk to the grocery, bank, and other amenities?


Discovering different areas can be fun and enlightening, you might find an area you haven't considered. Something that offers you more for the way you want to live and spend your time.


You may be pleasantly surprised by this worthwhile adventure, as it certainly is a great way to broaden your knowledge and learn more about this wonderful area of the world.

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