The Mortgage Insider - Home Financing with Contemporary Mortgage

How to Maintain a Stellar Credit Score

iPad with credit score range

Navigating finances can be intricate, but when it comes to elevating and preserving your credit score, simplicity reigns supreme. Here are four essential strategies to uphold a strong credit profile:

    1.    Timely Bill Payments: Consistently paying bills punctually contributes positively to your credit score, enhancing it over time.

    2.    Borrow Wisely: Exercise prudence in borrowing only what you can comfortably repay. Strive to keep your credit utilization below 30% of your available credit. Consider establishing an emergency fund to mitigate the need to max out credit cards during financial strains.

    3.    Strategic Credit Applications: When seeking loans or credit cards, opt for quality over quantity. Applying for numerous store credit cards solely for discounts may raise red flags with lenders.

    4.    Regular Credit Monitoring: Stay vigilant by routinely checking your credit history across all three major bureaus—Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion. Utilize for free credit reports every three months or annually to detect and rectify any inaccuracies promptly.

By adhering to these principles, you can safeguard and bolster your credit standing for a more secure financial future.

Contact us today to learn more!


Posted by Austin Howland on March 28th, 2024 8:29 PM

What are Credit Inquiries & How do They Affect my Credit?

Person reviewing credit report

Deciphering Credit Inquiries: What You Need to Know

In the world of credit reports, inquiries often mystify many of us. They appear seemingly out of nowhere, leaving us uncertain about their origin and duration. No, we’re not discussing unexpected visits from in-laws; it’s the inquiries on our credit reports that puzzle us. Understanding inquiries is crucial as they stand as one of the most perplexing and least grasped elements in the credit reporting system. Let’s dive into the details of inquiries and how you can effectively manage them:

What exactly are inquiries?

Inquiries signify instances when someone checks your credit information. They’re categorized into two types: ‘hard inquiries,’ which occur when a business reviews your credit report for credit application purposes, and ‘soft inquiries,’ which happen when your credit is checked for reasons other than credit applications, like pre-approved offers or account management. Applying for a new credit card triggers a hard inquiry, potentially causing a temporary dip in your credit score. Conversely, checking your own credit or when it’s checked for non-credit-related reasons won’t affect your credit score; these are considered soft inquiries.

Does checking my own credit impact my score?

No, checking your own credit doesn’t harm your credit score. You can review your credit data without worrying about negatively affecting your score.

Why are inquiries recorded?

Hard inquiries are logged to give potential creditors and lenders insight into your credit application frequency. Too many hard inquiries might signal that you’re attempting to borrow beyond your means. However, multiple inquiries for the same purpose within a short period are often consolidated into a single, less impactful inquiry session. Moreover, inquiries serve consumers by potentially alerting them to identity theft attempts when someone tries to open accounts in their name.

How long do inquiries last?

Most hard inquiries persist on your credit report for two years from their original placement. All inquiries, at minimum, remain visible for a year. While disputing inquiries is allowed, proving their inaccuracy can be challenging. If unsure about an inquiry, contacting the listed financial institution before disputing might provide clarity.

When it comes to securing a mortgage, every aspect of your credit history matters. Understanding the nuances of credit inquiries becomes particularly crucial in this context. Mortgage lenders carefully assess your credit report, including the frequency and nature of inquiries, to evaluate your financial responsibility and risk level. While inquiries are a necessary part of managing credit, being mindful of how they impact your report, especially when applying for a mortgage, can make a substantial difference. Keeping a vigilant eye on your credit health and minimizing unnecessary hard inquiries ensures you’re in a stronger position to secure the mortgage terms that align with your financial goals.

Contact us today to learn more!


Posted by Austin Howland on January 5th, 2024 8:03 PM

Credit History - How Long Deragatory Events Stay on your Credit

Credit Report in front of laptop


Are you eagerly anticipating the removal of old records like late payments, bankruptcies, and tax liens from your credit report? Taking charge of your credit health involves staying informed about the expiration dates of various records on your report.

For instance, identifying an outdated bankruptcy entry from, say, 2001, can significantly bolster your credit score once rectified. Delve into our guide below to supercharge your credit management strategy:



Different types of bankruptcy (Chapter 7, 11, and 13) typically linger on your credit report for 7 to 10 years following the filing date. Any accounts included in the bankruptcy filing should be labeled as “Included in BK” and will remain on your report for the same duration.


Charge-off Accounts

Accounts that have been charged off due to delinquency tend to stick around on your credit report for 7 years.


Closed Accounts

Delinquencies associated with closed accounts persist on your report for 7 years from the reporting date. However, positively closed accounts, devoid of any delinquencies or late payments, may remain on your credit report for a longer period.


Collection Accounts

Accounts forwarded to collections typically stay on your credit report for 7 years from the date of the last 180-day late payment on the original account. When paying off the full balance, the record will be annotated as “paid collection.” But if settling for a reduced amount, expect the record to reflect “paid for less than the total due.”



Whenever a creditor or lender conducts a credit check, resulting in a “hard inquiry,” it stays on your report for up to two years. Accumulation of these hard inquiries can marginally impact your credit score. However, harmless “soft inquiries,” such as those from employers or your own credit checks, don’t affect your score and remain unseen by businesses.



Most judgments, including those from small claims, civil cases, and child support, typically remain on your credit report for 7 years from the filing date.


Late Payments

Delinquencies of 30 to 180 days due to late payments can linger on your credit report for 7 years.


Tax Liens

Unpaid city, county, state, and federal tax liens pose severe implications, potentially remaining indefinitely on your credit report. Once paid, these liens typically stay on your report for 7 years from the payment date.

Understanding the intricacies of your credit history isn’t merely about tidying up your financial past. It can play a pivotal role in securing significant financial milestones, like obtaining a mortgage. Lenders scrutinize credit reports to assess an applicant’s financial reliability and loan eligibility. By proactively managing and rectifying discrepancies or outdated entries on your credit report, you pave the way for a stronger credit profile. This, in turn, increases your chances of securing favorable mortgage terms and realizing your dream of homeownership. Taking charge of your credit history today sets the stage for a promising financial future tomorrow.

Contact us today to learn more!


Posted by Austin Howland on January 5th, 2024 7:47 PM

The Crucial Role of Credit Scores in the Mortgage Process

Picture of credit score and credit application

When it comes to securing a mortgage, your credit score is often the unsung hero of the process. Many potential homebuyers underestimate just how important this three-digit number can be. In this article, we'll delve into the significance of credit scores in the mortgage process and why maintaining a healthy credit profile is vital to your homeownership dreams.

The Credit Score: Your Financial Report Card

Your credit score is a numerical representation of your creditworthiness, a report card that lenders use to assess the risk of lending to you. It reflects your credit history, including your payment history, the amount of debt you owe, the length of your credit history, new credit inquiries, and the types of credit you use.

Why Is Your Credit Score Important for Mortgages?

1. Interest Rates:

One of the most significant impacts of your credit score on your mortgage is the interest rate you'll be offered. Lenders typically offer lower interest rates to borrowers with higher credit scores. This means that with an excellent credit score, you can potentially save thousands of dollars over the life of your mortgage.

2. Loan Approval:

Lenders use your credit score to assess your creditworthiness. A low credit score can make it challenging to secure a mortgage. In contrast, a higher credit score improves your chances of an easier loan approval.

3. Down Payment Requirements:

A strong credit score can reduce the required down payment for some loan programs. In contrast, borrowers with lower credit scores may be required to make a larger down payment to mitigate risk for the lender.

4. Mortgage Insurance:

A lower credit score often results in the need for mortgage insurance. Mortgage insurance can add to your monthly mortgage costs, so maintaining a good credit score can help you avoid this expense.

Improving Your Credit Score for a Better Mortgage Deal

If your credit score isn't where you want it to be, there are steps you can take to improve it:

1. Check Your Credit Report: Review your credit report for errors and discrepancies. Dispute and rectify any inaccuracies you find. For more info on how to retrieve a copy of your free credit report, click here: How to Get Your Free Credit Report

2. Pay Bills on Time: Consistently paying your bills on time is the most significant factor in your credit score. Set up reminders or automatic payments to ensure you're never late.

3. Reduce Debt: Lowering your credit card balances can significantly improve your credit score. Aim to keep your credit utilization (the amount of credit you use relative to your total credit limit) below 30%.

4. Avoid Opening New Credit Accounts: Each new credit inquiry can temporarily lower your score. Avoid opening new credit accounts before applying for a mortgage. 

5. Don't Close Old Accounts: The length of your credit history matters. Keep older, well-managed accounts open to demonstrate a longer credit history.

6. Seek Professional Guidance: If you're struggling to improve your credit score, consider working with a credit counseling agency or a financial advisor. Feel free to contact us if you would like a referral for one of these companies.


Your credit score is a critical factor in the mortgage process. It affects not only your eligibility for a loan but also the terms and conditions you'll be offered. Understanding the significance of your credit score and taking steps to maintain or improve it is a vital aspect of achieving your homeownership dreams. Start early, manage your credit responsibly, and consider seeking guidance if necessary to ensure your credit score works in your favor when it's time to secure a mortgage. Remember, the higher your score, the better your mortgage deal is likely to be.

If you have questions about your credit score, the mortgage application process, or any aspect of securing a mortgage, our team of experienced mortgage professionals is here to help. Feel free to contact us for more information and personalized guidance on your journey to homeownership. We're dedicated to assisting you in every step of the process.

For more information on credit scores, check out some of our other pages on the subject: 


Posted by Austin Howland on October 18th, 2023 8:34 PM


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