Author: The Doug Klein Team

Colorado Home Loans

Colorado Home Loans

Navigating today’s housing market is difficult enough. But navigating the Colorado Home Loans process? Here’s one piece of advice you can’t ignore: don’t go at it alone!

When you’re ready to buy a home, finding a mortgage lender who demonstrates honesty, knowledge, dependability and integrity is paramount. No matter where you live in Colorado, you’ll find that lender in Loveland, in the Doug Klein team.

Whether a first-time homebuyer, moving up, buying a vacation home or adding to your investment portfolio, we will walk with you through the process. We’ll put our 25-plus years of experience to work for you!

The Importance of Pre-approval

We’ll help you determine how much you home you can afford – and no more. We don’t want you to struggle to pay for your home, sacrificing your quality of life in other areas. Many who purchased homes in the early 2000s lost them to foreclosure, because they lost their jobs or bought more home than they could truly afford. We will do all we can to prevent that from happening. We will calculate all the numbers incorporated into a loan payment and make sure the final figure meets your budget now and for years to come.

We know how important it is to get pre-approved for a home loan before you even start looking. Pre-approval will identify any issues with your credit you need to correct to get your loan and the best interest rate. It will also tell you how much home you can afford, and your offer will stand out above others in sellers’ eyes.

Colorado Home Loans

Do you know for what kind of mortgage loan you qualify? What loan is best for your situation? We can find out! We are experts in all Colorado Home Loans available. You may understand terms such as “fixed-rate mortgage,” “adjustable-rate mortgage,” “FHA” and “VA loan.” But have you heard of HARP2, Jumbo and Home Path loans? If not, let us educate you! Perhaps one of those loan options are just what you need.

Because Colorado is our home, too, we care about our fellow Coloradans and understand their needs. We work for them and for their best interests from start to finish and beyond. No matter where you live in Colorado, go to its heart – Loveland – and the Doug Klein team for your mortgage needs.

If you’re looking for a mortgage, we would love to talk with you. Please call us so my team and I can serve you: 970-685-4003.

 

 

northern colorado home loans doug klein

Northern Colorado Refinance Loans

If you’re interested in Northern Colorado Refinance Loans, you need a lender who has a reputation for honesty, integrity and treating customers like family.

You need the Doug Klein team.

With nearly 25 years of experience and as longtime Northern Colorado residents, we understand not only the financial industry but the people whom we serve.

In search of reviews? Read some of our customers’ reviews:

“Refinancing a home can be daunting and a huge undertaking, however it was neither working with Doug and his assistant, Norma. Doug was persistent as we worked together to find the best mortgage plan for us. He and Norma were incredibly efficient throughout the whole process. We frequently received updates on the status of our loan, and our emails were responded to almost immediately. Doug made refinancing our home simple, and we highly recommend him.” Chris Jones

“Doug and his staff were excellent to work with. They made the re-finance process as pain free as possible. I would highly recommend him for all of your mortgage and finance needs. Doug is a quality individual who cares.”Eric Weinmaster

“We’ve just completed one of many refinance loans that we have acquired through Doug Klein. Doug is an exemplary financial professional. He has always kept our best interests in mind and is extremely knowledgeable in financial services. He makes you feel like you are his only client at the time he is working with you. We would not go to anyone else when considering a refinance or for any other financial advice or service. Thanks, Doug for all you do for us!”Natalie Kielar

Northern Colorado Refinance Loans

Hopefully you’re convinced that my team has the character in a lender for which you’re looking. But do we know what we’re doing? Here’s just a little of what we know about refinancing mortgage loans to convince you we do:

  • We won’t take you through the steps of refinancing your mortgage loan before knowing whether it will save you money in the long run. Doing so will take only minutes.
  • If it does make sense, we will customize a loan to fit your needs – a service available because of the large choices of mortgage programs we offer, including conventional, FHA and VA, and long- or short-term loans.

Why Refinance?

Mortgage rates remain at historic lows, but they won’t always. Refinancing your mortgage now can help you shave years off your loan by applying more to your principal monthly:

  • Rounding up payments and adding a little extra to your payment each month
  • Refinancing to a short-term loan
  • Or refinancing to a lower interest rate decreases your required monthly payment, but you can still pay the same amount as before and pay it off faster.

Refinancing can also:

  • Lower your monthly mortgage payment
  • Turn your mortgage right side up if it’s upside down (you owe more for your home than it’s worth on the market)
  • Consolidate higher-interest debt into one low-interest mortgage payment that’s also tax deductible while improving your credit score
  • Provide cash for a remodeling project.

Doug Klein – Your Northern Colorado Lender

So if you’re looking for Northern Colorado Refinance Loans, your search is over. You’ll find the Doug Klein team is knowledgeable, experienced and offers a wide range of products. But we also are people you can trust and who will do everything necessary to make sure you’re satisfied when you close the deal. Call or text (970) 685-4003 or email doug@dougfinance-realestate.com to find out what we can do for you!

 

Home Improvement Loan Doug Klein Loveland Greeley Fort Collins Colorado

Home Improvement Loan

Why should you consider obtaining a home improvement loan to increase the value of your home – especially if you live in Colorado? In certain areas of Colorado, we’re experiencing a shortage of median priced homes for sale. If your home is currently valued at or below the median range, a home improvement loan could greatly increase the value of your home.

You can then either put your home up for sale for a higher price than you would have been able to before obtaining a home improvement loan or simply hold on to your home for now and enjoy the new improvements you’ve made to it because of your home improvement loan.

Reasons to Obtain a Home Improvement Loan

  • Improve the value of your home without using the equity of your home.
  • Some loans can be obtained for as short a time as five years or as long as 30 years.
  • If you’re making significant improvements on your house, such as adding a pool or refinishing your kitchen, home improvement financing is the way to go.
  • With a home improvement loan from us, your mortgage balance can exceed the home’s purchase price or current appraised value. This allows you to pull out extra cash to pay for the renovations.

Home improvement loans combine a construction loan and a mortgage into one low-rate loan that can fund the entire purchase and renovation project.

Ways to Use Your Home Improvement Loan

There are several ways to renovate your home beyond the kitchen, bathroom remodel. Here are several ways:

  • Removal of lead-based paint
  • Decks, patios, porches
  • HVAC systems (Heating and air conditioning)
  • Landscape improvements
  • Basement completion
  • Basement waterproofing
  • Septic or well systems
  • New kitchen appliances
  • Washer/Dryer upgrades
  • Roofs, gutters and downspouts
  • Plumbing and electrical upgrades
  • Minor kitchen or bathroom remodel
  • Add carpet, tile or wood flooring
  • Install new windows or doors
  • Weather stripping and insulation upgrades
  • Disability improvement
  • Energy efficient upgrades

You can have a single fixed-rate mortgage and up to $35,000 cash out for improvements with an FHA 203(k) Home Improvement Loan.

If you’re a current homeowner, the FHA 203(k) Refinance Loan can help you rehabilitate and improve your home. Need to make your home handicapped-accessible? Replace your roof or upgrade your kitchen? These types of home improvement projects can raise the value of your property and allow you to customize as your needs change

If you’re looking for a mortgage, we would love to talk with you. Please call us so my team and I can serve you: 970-685-4003.

 

Home Improvement Loan Doug Klein Loveland Greeley Fort Collins Colorado

 

Credit Score Range

A Good Credit Score Range for Loveland CO

Why should a good credit score range for Loveland CO residents or anyone else who lives anywhere in Colorado matter? That’s a question that we get asked a lot. We wrote this blog post and hope it’s helpful to you, whether you live in Loveland, Fort Collins, Greeley, Windsor, Denver or elsewhere in Colorado.

You may have come across this blog post because you’re about to get ready to search for your first home to buy or you’re already house-hunting and finding out that having a good credit score range is extremely important. But why?

Why Figure Out a Good Credit Score Range?

A good credit score range for Loveland CO homebuyers (or residents throughout Colorado) will help you to have more choices in the budget range of your first home. Knowing your credit range eliminates a lot of frustration and wasted time, too. You can also compete with other buyers who haven’t done their homework like you’re doing.

Think about it… if you don’t know your credit score range or your budget for purchasing a home, you’ll risk getting your hopes up on a home you’d like to purchase but then might find out you can’t afford it yet.

Before you even begin to search, you should decide on your budget.  Then you’ll avoid some possible home-buying heartache. What’s the price range you can afford for the home you want to purchase?

Most first-time home-buyers don’t know the answer but we like to be helpful. That’s why we have a free mortgage calculator.

You can use our Mortgage Calculator that’s located in the bottom section of any page of our website to help you figure this out. Go ahead and use it, write down your mortgage budget and then come back and finish reading.

Now that you know your mortgage budget, you might have found out you need to start working on lowering your debt-to-income ratio.

You could start to work on that over the next few months and then start again in the credit approval process. But did you know you could also check out Caliber Home Loan’s credit approval process?Credit Score Range

Getting a strong credit approval means that you can immediately compete with buyers who have not considered their home financing options or know their limits. Buyers who are approved have more than an idea of what is attainable, and they can back it up with an in-writing offer.

Find out more details by giving us a call: 970-685-4003.

 

Unique Challenges of the Millennial Home Buyer

Unique challenges of the Millennial Home Buyer

Are you hoping to be a Millennial Home Buyer this year? Now is the perfect time to buy your first home. Here are some helpful tips to point you in the right direction if you’re just starting out. And if you’ve been shopping for a loan but not making progress, give us a call. We can most likely help you out or at least get you started off on the right foot.

First, if you don’t know by now, your credit score is very important and so is your payment history. If you haven’t established any credit yet, start today. Try not to wait any longer. Millennial home buyers or would-be millennial home buyers might not want to “play” the credit “game” but it’s a necessary step in the process of becoming a home buyer.

Chances are, though, that you do have some credit history because, if you’ve been renting a home, condo or apartment, most landlords require good credit history of making payments on time before they’ll allow you to rent or lease property.

A few more helpful tips

A few more helpful tips to consider as you grow financially are to build your financial planning team with solid professionals.  These include accountants, attorneys, bankers, investment advisors, insurance professionals, and of course mortgage professionals.  The decisions you make are only as good as the advice you are being given.  It helps to think “big picture” or globally when you are shopping for your new home.  When you keep the whole financial plan in mind as you are looking for your new home you will be less likely to have buyers remorse or be house poor after you close.  Lastly, real estate professionals have a saying.  Make your money when you buy your home instead of when you sell it.  Try to buy in the middle range of home prices in the area you are choosing to live.  Buying at the top of the market or the most expensive house in the neighborhood can lead to a disappointing ending when you are ready to move on to the next adventure.

Though we could write a lot more advice, we respect your time in reading this brief overview of home buying tips and hope you’ll contact us or call us.

ARE YOUR ESTATE DOCUMENTS IN ORDER?

 Estate Planning

As a financial professional it is part of my commitment to you to help you guide your financial affairs. One area that is particularly critical to get right is estate preparation and the protection of your loved ones from the unexpected. Proper estate preparation is an act of love and responsibility to those you care about.

Estate Preparation Questions You Should Consider

  • Have you discussed your wishes with your spouse and loved ones?
  • Do you have an updated Will?
  • Have you executed a Living Will and healthcare proxy to protect your wishes in the event of incapacity?
  • Have you named guardians for your children?
  • Have you created a Trust and titled your assets in the name of the Trust?
  • Were your estate plans constructed to minimize tax consequences?
  • Have you reviewed your primary and secondary beneficiaries to make sure they reflect your priorities?

These questions are not exhaustive and are only designed to act as a starting point for your preparations. If you’re not sure about any of these issues, it may be time to request a legal and financial review.

Why is estate preparation so critical?

  • It documents your wishes and helps ensure that they are carried out when you are no longer able to look after your affairs.
  • It helps protect the financial stability of your loved ones and support your life priorities.
  • It helps minimize the taxes, expenses, and legal hassle involved with transferring assets to heirs.

Do I really need estate preparation if I have beneficiaries on my accounts?

Beneficiary provisions are a valuable tool for reducing the expense and time associated with transferring wealth; however, they do not replace proper estate preparation. I believe that the process of preparing your estate is critical to protecting your family and future financial affairs. I have also found that estate preparations offer an opportunity to explore your life priorities and discuss your thoughts with your loved ones.

Many Americans put off estate preparation because they view it as morbid or depressing. I prefer to treat it as preparing for life and protecting your family from the unexpected. Though you cannot control the future, these preparations help you focus on what you can control and empower you to care for your loved ones long after you’re gone.

If you have worked with an attorney to develop your estate plans, it’s still a good idea to regularly review your documents to make sure that they still reflect your wishes. Letting your documents go out of date can create legal problems or expensive tax bills for your heirs. To help ensure that my clients have professional recommendations for their circumstances, I collaborate with legal professionals who specialize in helping clients create a personalized estate blueprint. Please let me know if I can provide an introduction.

In this letter, I’ve asked some questions that I hope will help you think about your priorities and prompt a discussion with your loved ones. Please feel free to share this information with your friends and family; everyone deserves the benefit of professional recommendations and the confidence of knowing that their future wishes are protected. If you would like to review, your current estate provisions or need help finding an attorney, please call me

Footnotes, disclosures, and sources:
These are the views of Platinum Advisor Marketing Strategies, LLC, and not necessarily those of the named representative, Broker dealer, or Investment Advisor, and should not be construed as investment advice. Neither the named representative nor the named Broker dealer or Investment Advisor gives tax or legal advice. All information is believed to be from reliable sources; however, we make no representation as to its completeness or accuracy.
Opinions expressed are subject to change without notice and are not intended as investment advice or to predict future performance.

Changes to Social Security and now Your Retirement

Social Security

On November 2, 2015, President Obama signed into law a budget deal that affects certain Social Security claiming strategies. The changes mainly affected two strategies that helped retirees increase their lifetime benefits: [i]

  • File-and-suspend: A strategy in which one spouse (typically the higher earner) files and suspends a claim for benefits to allow delayed retirement credits to accrue while enabling the other spouse or a dependent to claim benefits on the higher earner’s record.
  • Restricted applications: When a retiree files for spousal benefits instead of claiming his or her own personal benefit (typically to allow his or her own benefit to accrue credits while still receiving some income).

Right now, the rules are in flux and experts are weighing in on all sides.

How do the changes affect Social Security claiming strategies?

Many Americans will not be affected by the new rules because the vast majority don’t delay claiming their benefits past their Full Retirement Age. Those who may be affected have six months before the changes kick in on May 1, 2016.

Affected retirees fall into four categories:[ii]

  1. Retirees who have already filed and suspended or filed claims for restricted spousal benefits are grandfathered in under the new rules and will not be affected by the changes.
  2. Retirees who will be age 62 by January 1, 2016 (i.e. they were born before January 2, 1954)[iii] may still be able to file restricted claims for spousal benefits if their own spouse has filed for benefits.
  3. Retirees who will be age 66 before May 1, 2016 (i.e. they were born April 30, 1950 or earlier) may still be able to file and suspend their benefits to trigger benefits for spouses or dependents if they do so by April 30, 2016.
  4. Retirees who are too young to claim Social Security benefits by May 1, 2016 may not be able to use these strategies, though the timeline may change. In the future, spouses will actually have to claim their own benefits in order to trigger spousal benefits for a husband, wife, or dependent. Spouses will also not be able to just file for spousal benefits without triggering their own benefits at the same time.

How do these changes affect my retirement picture?

If you will be age 66 before May 1, 2016, please contact us to determine whether you should claim and suspend benefits to allow you to maximize your income before the rules change.

Social Security is a foundational element of a retirement income strategy, and the new rules may affect your financial picture. If you had planned to use one of these Social Security benefit strategies to increase your income in retirement, then you will need to revisit your income assumptions to help ensure that you have enough to live comfortably. However, there are still ways to increase the amount of Social Security benefits you can claim.

Married couples will still be able to take advantage of other advanced claiming strategies such as delaying one spouse’s benefit to accrue extra credits while the other claims a personal benefit. You can potentially improve your retirement income picture by:

  • Claiming benefits late to earn additional retirement credits.
  • Minimizing taxes paid on your Social Security benefits.
  • Maximizing survivor benefits for yourself or your spouse.

One piece of good news is that the budget deal changed the 52% Medicare premium hike that was slated for 2016 to a more manageable 15%. The deal is also a small step toward resolving some of the fiscal uncertainty around Social Security.[iv]

The only constant is change

As financial professionals, our team has helped clients navigate many challenges on the path to a more comfortable retirement. Regulatory changes, market downturns, fiscal standoffs, and other hindrances happen. Often, all we can do is adapt to these changes as they occur. We’ll continue to analyze these Social Security regulations and keep you informed.

If you’re worried about your own retirement preparations or want to discuss how these changes to Social Security may affect your financial picture, please give us a call to discuss your personal situation.

Footnotes, disclosures, and sources:
These are the views of Platinum Advisor Marketing Strategies, LLC, and not necessarily those of the named representative, Broker dealer or Investment Advisor, and should not be construed as investment advice. Neither the named representative nor the named Broker dealer or Investment Advisor gives tax or legal advice. All information is believed to be from reliable sources; however, we make no representation as to its completeness or accuracy. Please consult your financial advisor for further information.
We have not independently verified the information available through the following links. The links are provided to you as a matter of interest. We make no claim as to their accuracy or reliability.
Opinions expressed are subject to change without notice and are not intended as investment advice or to predict future performance.
Investing involves risk including the potential loss of principal. No investment strategy can guarantee a profit or protect against loss in periods of declining values.
Past performance does not guarantee future results.
Consult your financial professional before making any investment decision.
1 http://www.investmentnews.com/article/20151030/FREE/151039996/advisers-rethink-retirement-plans-amid-social-security-changes
2 http://www.investmentnews.com/article/20151102/BLOG05/151109994/social-security-claiming-strategy-triage
3 https://www.socialsecurity.gov/planners/retire/agereduction.html
4 http://www.usnews.com/opinion/economic-intelligence/2015/10/29/budget-deal-stops-medicare-premium-spike-but-not-forever

Putting Market Corrections into Perspective

Markets into perspective

After a turbulent 2015, stocks tumbled in the first few weeks of 2016, causing concerns that the bull market we have enjoyed since 2009 may be over. We would like to take the opportunity to help you put market corrections in perspective.

Market Corrections Are Normal

Plagued by worries about global economic growth, the S&P 500 dropped 7.75% in the first two weeks of 2016.[i] While the pullback surprised many investors, corrections in the 5-10% range are not unusual.

Since 1928, the S&P 500 has experienced corrections of more than 5% about three or four times each year.[ii] We see declines of 10% or more every 1-1/2 years, and bear market corrections of 20% or more about every three or four years.[iii] Obviously, these are all averages and the performance of any single year can deviate significantly from historical norms.

A Correction Was Widely Predicted

We are in the mature stage of the bull market that began in March of 2009. At this point in the market cycle, volatility and corrections are quite normal. After six-plus years of solid stock performance, analysts all but knew that a correction had to come.

Stocks have been trading near historic highs for months. In May of 2015, the S&P 500 closed at a new historic high.[iv] Since then, stocks have been stuck in a volatile pattern, struggling to make headway. Once equities get near market tops, traders become hard-pressed to find any upside, and investors do not want to add any new money to push the market higher, causing a pullback. How far equities decline depends on many factors, including investor sentiment, corporate earnings, economic data, and growth prospects for the near future. Disappointing news out of China reignited concerns about global growth and triggered the most recent selloff; however, domestic indicators show that the U.S. economy is still on track for modest growth this year.[v]

While we cannot predict the future, we can look back at past market declines for hints of what we might expect going forward if markets follow historical trends. Since 2009, pullbacks of 5% or more have lasted an average of about a month, peak to trough, meaning that the recent correction may continue.[vi] Market volatility is still high and it is unclear how headwinds from China and oil price declines may affect market performance in the coming weeks. While we are not likely to get any optimism out of China any time soon, it is quite possible that investors will find their footing and buy the dip, sending markets higher again.

What Happens If We Enter a Bear Market?

Historically, markets do not typically enter bear territory without being accompanied by a recession, and we just do not see that recession fears are justified.[vii] However, as professional investors, it’s our job to prepare for contingencies and we are ready for a sustained pullback if it comes.

The most important thing is not to give in to emotion. While it can be tempting to eject when you see everyone heading for the exits, impulsive decisions can be a killer when markets decline. If you’re feeling nervous, please give us a call so that we can discuss your portfolio strategy.

We can’t predict bad markets. However, we have worked with you to develop a customized investment strategy that takes into account market declines and balances risk against the need for long-term growth. Markets fluctuate over time and the best response is careful analysis and prudent shifts where necessary.

While indexes like the S&P 500 and Dow Jones Industrial Average may be down, there are sectors, industries, and asset classes that are still undervalued or valued given the economic and market conditions. As financial professionals, we are constantly on the hunt for opportunities to help our clients pursue their goals in challenging market environments.

Conclusions

Though market corrections are rarely welcome, they are a natural part of the overall business cycle and it’s important to take them in stride. Declines also provide an environment to test your risk tolerance and ensure that your financial strategies and asset allocations are aligned with your long-term objectives and appetite for risk.

As professional investors, we’ve learned to seek out the opportunities in market corrections and volatility. While we can’t use the past to predict the future, history tells us that having the patience to sit out brief rough patches often benefits our clients in the end.

We hope that you have found this information educational and reassuring. If you have any questions about market corrections or are concerned about how volatility may affect your portfolio, please give us a call; we’re always happy to speak with you.

Footnotes, disclosures, and sources:
These are the views of Platinum Advisor Marketing Strategies, LLC, and not necessarily those of the named representative, Broker dealer or Investment Advisor, and should not be construed as investment advice. Neither the named representative nor the named Broker dealer or Investment Advisor gives tax or legal advice. All information is believed to be from reliable sources; however, we make no representation as to its completeness or accuracy. Please consult your financial advisor for further information.
We have not independently verified the information available through the following links. The links are provided to you as a matter of interest. We make no claim as to their accuracy or reliability.
Opinions expressed are subject to change without notice and are not intended as investment advice or to predict future performance.
Past performance does not guarantee future results.
You cannot invest directly in an index.
Consult your financial professional before making any investment decision.
Investing involves risk including the potential loss of principal. No investment strategy can guarantee a profit or protect against loss in periods of declining values.
Diversification does not guarantee profit nor is it guaranteed to protect assets.
The Standard & Poor’s 500 (S&P 500) is an unmanaged group of securities considered to be representative of the stock market in general.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average is a price-weighted index of 30 actively traded blue-chip stocks. Past performance of an index is not indicative of future performance. An index is unmanaged and cannot be invested directly into.

1 Google Finance
2 http://www.usatoday.com/story/money/markets/2014/02/04/stock-pullbacks-as-guide/5198999/
3 http://www.businessinsider.com/history-of-10-corrections-2013-12#ixzz2tVfjXyiI
4 Source: Yahoo Finance. S&P 500 adjusted close on 5/21/15
5 http://projects.wsj.com/econforecast/#ind=gdp&r=20 [January 2016 Edition]
6 http://www.usatoday.com/story/money/markets/2014/02/04/stock-pullbacks-as-guide/5198999/
7 http://www.businessinsider.com/facts-about-10-corrections-in-sp-500-2015-8

Protect Yourself from Tax Identity Theft This Season

 

Social Security

February 22, 2016

Tax season is underway and that means an increase in tax-related identity theft. One especially persistent form of fraud is tax identity theft. Tax-related identity theft happens when someone uses sensitive personal information (like your Social Security number) and files a fraudulent tax return in your name to collect a refund. According to recent statistics, scammers filed over 5 million returns in 2013 using stolen information, costing the IRS $5.8 billion in fraudulent refunds.[i]

Unfortunately, filing a false tax return is not difficult. All you need is a name, Social Security number (SSN), and date of birth (usually stolen from sources outside the IRS). Most victims don’t realize anything is amiss until they file their taxes and receive notification that a return has already been filed in their name. Fortunately, there are some common-sense steps you can take to protect yourself from identity theft.

How to Protect Yourself from Identity Theft

  • Remember that scams involving people impersonating the IRS are on the rise, especially this time of year. The IRS never asks for personal information by phone, email, text, or social media or threatens arrest for nonpayment. IRS notices will always arrive by mail, and anyone demanding immediate payment over the phone is a scammer. If you receive an unsolicited call and think you might owe federal taxes, hang up and call the IRS directly at 1-800-829-1040.
  • Be careful about giving out your SSN since it is the most commonly used piece of data to commit identity theft. If you are filling out paperwork that asks for your SSN, confirm whether it is actually necessary and ask about security precautions.
  • Never give out information in response to unsolicited calls, emails, letters, or social media messages. Don’t click on links in emails purporting to be from the IRS or a financial institution or enter information into any website linked from that email. Always visit official websites directly and call an official number to verify the legitimacy of any request.
  • Follow smart computer practices like creating strong, unique passwords for each account and website you use. Purchase anti-virus and firewall software for your computer and install regular updates. When you discard an old computer, get an expert to wipe the hard drive and remove all of your private data.
  • Regularly shred documents like bills and financial statements, tax returns older than seven years, old checkbooks, receipts, credit card offers, paycheck stubs, insurance statements, expired credit cards, and any other paperwork that contains account numbers or personal information. A lot of identity theft happens when thieves gain access to confidential data in your trash, car, or house.

Identity Theft Warning Signs

  • The IRS notifies you that a tax return has already been filed in your name or that you received income from an employer you do not recognize.
  • Debt collectors call about debts you do not owe.
  • You find unfamiliar accounts on your credit report or notice unusual charges on account statements.
  • You are billed for medical services you did not receive, or are notified by your insurance company that you have reached your benefit limit.

What to Do if Your Identity Has Been Stolen

If you have been the victim of identity theft (i.e. scammers may have used your SSN or other confidential information to commit fraud), it’s important to act quickly to avoid damage to your financial life. Here’s what to do:

  • File a report with your local police department.
  • If you believe that you have been the victim of tax-related fraud, call the IRS at 1-800-366-4484 and fill out a report at www.treasury.gov/tigta.
  • Notify the fraud departments of the three major credit agencies:
    • Equifax: 1-800-525-6285
    • Experian: 1-888-397-3742
    • TransUnion: 1-800-680-7289
  • Order a copy of your credit report and review all accounts and transactions for fraud. The only place to receive a free credit report from all three agencies is at www.annualcreditreport.com. Gather information to dispute any fraudulent information.
  • Notify the Social Security Administration of the possible theft of your SSN by calling the fraud hotline at 1-800-269-0271.

How We Can Help

One of the benefits of having a financial professional in your corner is that you don’t have to fight financial fraud alone. Incidences of identity theft and tax-related fraud are on the rise, and we’re here to help our clients protect themselves. Visit the rest of our site at: https://lovelandcoloradomortgage.com/

Footnotes, disclosures, and sources:
These are the views of Platinum Advisor Marketing Strategies, LLC, and not necessarily those of the named representative, Broker dealer, or Investment Advisor, and should not be construed as investment advice. Neither the named representative nor the named Broker dealer or Investment Advisor gives tax or legal advice. All information is believed to be from reliable sources; however, we make no representation as to its completeness or accuracy. Please consult your financial advisor for further information.
[i] http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-15-119
http://www.consumerreports.org/money/new-ways-to-avoid-identity-theft-and-tax-fraud?EXTKEY=AYFCF06
https://taxes.yahoo.com/post/138018219583/protect-yourself-from-tax-identity-theft

Is Your Credit Mortgage Ready

Since the last recession, getting your credit mortgage ready is a big challenge for some first-time home-buyers. Here are a few tips to help you out.

Good Habits to Get Your Credit Mortgage Ready

Putting yourself on a stricter household budget for a few months or up to a whole year, combined with making credit card payments on time and not skipping payments is the best way to get your credit mortgage ready before beginning your new home search.

Track Monthly Payments to Make Them On Time

Skipping a payment or being past 30-days late on a payment is a red flag. Think about how this reflects on your dependability in making a mortgage payment on time. Work hard on making payments on time or early for at least a whole year, if your payment history has been inconsistent. Do this before you apply for a home loan.

On-time payments have the largest influence on your Credit Score. If you’re not sure what your current credit score is, you can ask any of the three credit bureaus for a free report once a year.

Keep Low Balances

Do you have more than one credit card balance to maintain? Try your best to keep your balance below 30 per cent of the allowed credit limit on each credit card.

Have a Long History of Good Credit

Having a long history of good credit is really helpful. This displays that you’re a reliable account holder who can maintain your accounts. That does not mean we’re advising you to open several credit card accounts. No. But if you have a long history of good credit, of course this helps you.

Basically, the more history you have, the better. And of course, if that credit history is excellent, than you’ve positioned yourself to make things much easier during any loan approval process – usually.

If you’ve paid off a credit card, it’s better to keep it at a zero balance than to close it. Let it work in your favor.

Opening New Credit

If you have to open a new line of credit, it may have a small impact on your credit score. When an account is created, the creditor performs an inquiry against your credit. This might cause a few point deductions, but if there are many in a short time, it most definitively will cause a problem. If you decide to open a new line of credit do your homework, and apply for a single card – not multiple cards.

Take Care of the Issues On Your Credit Score

Be sure to take care of fixing any problems or errors on your credit report. This is the top way most folks miss out on getting a loan approval. If there are serious reports on your credit such as collections accounts, or tax liens, or bankruptcies, this greatly lessens your chances of becoming a homeowner. Creditors see these and hesitate to give you a loan approval because your history is not good.

Check your Credit Report

Did you know you can check your credit for free once a year from each of the three credit agencies? You definitely want to make it a habit to check your credit report so you can take action to eliminate errors.

(By the way, if you’re the victim of a identity theft, be sure to report that to all three agencies immediately.)

If you’re dreaming of buying your first home and need to improve your credit, be sure to get your credit in order, develop good habits of paying on time, keep your balances as low as possible — even if it means a zero balance. Don’t close a credit card account if you can help it: let it help you improve your credit rating. Be sure to report errors to the credit agencies and follow up to make sure they’ve removed the errors.

If you have any questions, please contact us.