Government Shutdown Brings Mortgage Obstacles

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The Shutdown’s Housing Market Woes

It’s a great time to buy a home, and you’re ready. You’ve saved up a suitable down payment, found a home, and settled on a lender. As an added bonus, interest rates are at their lowest point in the last nine months – despite the Federal Reserve’s interest rate hikes.

There’s only one problem. The government shutdown has created obstacles to your mortgage – maybe in ways you hadn’t considered.

Loan Roadblocks

The shutdown effect is obvious if you’re a government worker suddenly trying to buy a home with IOU’s – but, otherwise, why would your mortgage application be affected? It may depend on the type of loan you’re seeking.

USDA loans, popular in rural areas, are backed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. With the USDA shut down (at least as of this writing), no new applications are being accepted and scheduled loan closings have been put on hold. Homebuyers caught in the middle are be…

Only 1 Out Of 7 Monitors Their Social Security Number Online

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Do you monitor your Social Security number for any signs of fraudulent use? A new survey suggests you think that you should, but you probably don’t.

According to the 2018 Capital One Credit Protection and Security Survey, only one in seven Americans uses a service to monitor activity on their Social Security number – but just over half of Americans who don’t use a monitoring service think they should use one.

Why is Social Security monitoring so important? Your Social Security number is your most important and most often-used identifier. Criminals can use your Social Security number to apply for credit in your name. Without monitoring services, you may not realize your Social Security number has been abused until you’re confronted with major unpaid bills and ruined credit.

Because of their versatility in identity theft scams, Social Security numbers are highly prized pieces of information. Depending on what other information criminals have on you, your …

Do Low Credit Scores Raise Your Insurance Premiums?

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Your credit score affects many aspects of your financial life. It affects your ability to qualify for loans and credit cards, and the interest rates that you’ll pay if you do qualify. It may affect your credit card limits, rental fees or deposits, utility services, and cell phone/cable bills.

Can your credit score also affect how much you pay for insurance? According to a new study by WalletHub, it can. The WalletHub study focused on the connection between car insurance rates and credit scores, and how they change by state.

The insurance industry calculates credit-based insurance scores built on information in your credit report that is relevant to your likelihood of filing an insurance claim. Credit-based insurance scores have proven to be a decent predictor of fewer accidents, and therefore fewer claims.

Insurance companies are banned by state law from using credit-based insurance scores in three states (California, Massachusetts, and Hawaii), but in …

Raise Your Credit Score, And Pay Less For Insurance

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A poor credit score makes your financial life difficult in a number of ways. You receive poorer interest rates and terms on credit cards, it’s harder to qualify for mortgages, and, “When it comes time to get insurance, maybe your insurance premiums will be a little more expensive because you have a low credit score,” says Millennial Money Expert Stefanie O’Connell.

Why would credit affect your insurance premiums? Insurers have to determine the premiums you pay based on the collective risk factors for that particular field. Greg McBride, Chief Financial Officer of Bankrate.com, includes insurance companies in this assessment: “They’re looking for ways to evaluate your risk, and creditworthiness is one of those metrics.”

Insurance companies typically don’t use your credit score directly, but they may incorporate your credit score and other relevant aspects of your credit history into a credit-based insurance score – an analogue that focuses not just on the ability …