Fabiola Castro's Blog
Deciphering credit scoresMost major lenders assign your credit score based on the information provided by three national credit bureaus: Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion. These companies report your credit history to FICO, who give you a score from 300 to 850 (850 being the best your score can get). When applying for a mortgage (or attempting to be pre-approved for a home loan), the lender you choose will weight several aspects to determine if they will lend money to you and under what terms they will lend you the money. Among these are your employment status, current salary, your savings and assets, and your credit score. Lenders use this data to attempt to determine how likely you are to pay off your debt. To be considered a "safe" person to lend money to it will require a combination of things, including good credit. What is good credit? Credit scores are based on five components:
- 35%: your payment history
- 30%: your debt amount
- 15%: length of your credit history
- 10%: types of credit you have used
- 10%: recent credit inquiries (such as taking out new loans or opening new credit cards)
What does this mean for taking out mortgages?A higher credit score will get you a lower interest rate. By the time you pay off your mortgage, just a hundred points on your credit score could save you thousands on your mortgage, and that's not including the money you might save by getting lower interest rates on other loans as well. If you would like to buy a home within the next few years, take this time to focus on building your credit score:
- If you have high balances, do your best to lower them
- If you have a tendency to miss payments, set recurring reminders in your phone to make sure you pay on time
- If you don't have diverse credit, it could be a good time to take out a loan or open your first credit card
WASHINGTON (AP) – Sept. 20, 2018 – Long-term U.S. mortgage rates are up for the fourth consecutive week, with the key 30-year rate reaching its highest level since May.
Costs for would-be homebuyers continue to climb. Mortgage buyer Freddie Mac said Thursday that the average rate on 30-year, fixed-rate mortgages jumped to 4.65 percent, from 4.60 percent last week. The average rate has increased from 3.83 percent a year ago.
The average rate on 15-year, fixed-rate loans rose to 4.11 percent this week from 4.06 percent last week.
The primary factors driving rates higher include the strong economy, trade tensions between the U.S. and other countries, and the U.S. government stepping up sales of its debt, according to Freddie Mac chief economist Sam Khater.
The expanded U.S. debt sales suppress Treasury bond prices and push their interest rates higher. The yield on the key 10-year Treasury note has been running above 3 percent, approaching a seven-year high. The yield jumped to 3.08 percent Wednesday, from 2.96 percent a week earlier. It held at 3.08 percent Thursday morning.
The higher mortgage rates "represent continued affordability challenges for prospective buyers – especially first-time buyers," Khater said.
To calculate average mortgage rates, Freddie Mac surveys lenders across the country between Monday and Wednesday each week.
The average doesn't include extra fees, known as points, which most borrowers must pay to get the lowest rates.
The average fee on 30-year fixed-rate mortgages was unchanged from last week at 0.5 point. The fee on 15-year mortgages also remained at 0.5 point.
The average rate for five-year adjustable-rate mortgages edged down to 3.92 percent from 3.93 percent last week. The fee rose to 0.4 point from 0.3 point.
PALM DESERT, Calif. – Sept. 19, 2018 – Photographs posted on the internet enjoy the same U.S. copyright protections as the written word, and the "Who owns the photos?" question can create problems in real estate listings.
A meticulous California photographer who registers all his photos with the U.S. Copyright Office and requires limited licensing contracts from listing agents is suing Zillow for copyright infringement, according to The American Genius.
California photographer George Gutenberg claims copyright violations and alleges that Zillow "scrapes images from Multiple Listing Services (MLSs) rather than using listing data syndicated to them." He's asking the court for "an amount to be proven or, in the alternative, at Plaintiff's election, an award for statutory damages against Defendant in an amount up to $150,000.00 for each infringement pursuant to 17 U.S.C. §504(c), whichever is larger."
If the court agrees to the $150,000-per-photo price, Gutenberg could be awarded as much as $81,450,000.
In addition to registering photos with the copyright office, Gutenberg also has his listing-agent clients sign an agreement, in which they agree to a "limited license to use the photographs for up to one-year purposes of marketing the property." The agreement "expressly states that it is not transferrable and prohibits third party use without permission from Gutenberg."
Gutenberg is represented by Mathew Higbee of Higbee and Associates, which issued a statement about the case to The American Genius. The statement says that Gutenberg's clients "understand that they are permitted to use his photographs for the limited purpose of promoting their real estate listing," and that the photos are allowed on the MLS only "for the life of the listing." They are to be "immediately removed when the listing is sold or otherwise taken off the market."
Gutenberg currently claims that he knows of no clients who syndicated copyrighted photos directly to Zillow or broke their signed licensing agreement with him. As a result, he's holding Zillow responsible.
The Higbee statement to The American Genius says that "it appears that Zillow … copies millions of photographs per day off of the MLS in an effort to build what they refer to as their 'Living Database of All Homes' … at the expense of creators and rights holders such as Mr. Gutenberg who depend on payment of reasonable licensing fees by those who exploit their works."
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