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Wells Fargo Will Pay $2billion for Mortgage Fraud + How to Ask the Right Questions as a First-Time Home Buyer

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They say what is done in the dark will always come to light and while we applaud Wells Fargo for trying to clean up its act, by launching a new “Earning Back Your Trust” Campaign, they are still paying for some of their past mistakes. Recently, Wells Fargo agreed to pay $2.09 billion to settle charges by the Justice Department that it knowingly sold residential-mortgage loans to investors containing false income information. These loans which are dubbed “crisis-era loans,” which tens of thousands defaulted, “did not meet the quality that Wells Fargo represented,” said the DOJ. The bank has been no stranger to scandals over sales practices, including them, infamously opening millions of fake accounts that resulted in Federal Reserve sanctions. While Wells Fargo can afford to pay these sanctions many first-time home buyers save for their whole lives in order to afford their purchase, so caution needs to be taken before you sign on the dotted line. The questions that a first-time home buyer should ask and understand before starting the process are one of the most important parts of the process. No question is too dumb, and all questions should be asked as they come up. Here are eight questions  you should ask:

1) Am I ready to buy a home?

If you’ve had a stable job for a couple of years and you like the area you live in and do not think you will want to move for at least five years, then purchasing a home might be a good idea. You also need to be ready for the additional responsibilities such as yard care, fixing broken appliances, and other maintenance needs. Homes will not keep their value if these aren’t kept up.

2) What’s my first step to buy a home?

When you think you are ready to buy a house, it’s important to consider what your credit rating is like, and what your debt to income ratio is. If you have a lot of debt, it’s time to get it paid down. You want a couple of years of on-time payments, with no late payments for at least two years.

3) What’s better or worse about buying over renting?

When you rent, your entire payment is just gone. But when you purchase you are building equity in your home, and you will get either more than you have paid into the house back, or you’ll get something back when you sell the house. When you rent, you will get nothing but perhaps your deposit back, if you’re lucky. But, as a homeowner you will have the responsibility of upkeep so if you are alone or travel a lot, you’ll need to consider the added expense of someone to maintain your home.

4) How do I find a mortgage broker?

The best way to find a mortgage broker is to ask your friends. But, if you plan to buy new construction go to the sample house, and ask for a list of pre-approved mortgage brokers.

5) How do I find a real estate agent?

The best way to find a real estate agent is to ask your friends, again, and find someone who has been around for a while in your community. You want someone who really knows the inventory and understands what you want. Usually, you’ll enter into a contract with the realtor, and you cannot use anyone else until you find a home except under extreme circumstances.

6) How can I research communities I’d like to live in?

There are wonderful ways to research communities now. Use Trulia.com, or Zillow.com to help you find houses in the area you want to live, and the links provided will show you facts and stats about that area. You can also drive around in the area to see how it feels to you.

7) What should I pay particular attention to during walk throughs?

Other than the items you want on your wish list, look for rotted wood around windows, black stuff on the roof (usually mold), the size of the bedrooms, kitchen, and yard. Ask yourself if you like the floor plan. What needs to be replaced? Carpet, appliances, anything else? Make a note of these things because if you like the house, those can be points of negotiation.

8) What’s the best way to keep track of the houses I look at?

Before you start looking, create a list or check sheet to take with you listing all the things you would like in the house. Each checklist should also list the address. Your realtor should have a copy of that as well before he or she even finds places for you to view. As you go through, take a picture of the address of the house, then the house, and later attach it to the checklist so that you can easily go back to see what you liked and did not like about the house.

Finding the right home is an emotional, stressful while exciting process. Once it’s over and done, you’ll be glad you did your due diligence. Do not worry if those around you try to talk you into anything, or talk you out of anything. It’s going to be your house, and you have to be happy with it, not them. But again do your due diligence so you can have longevity in your investment.

Ash Exantus aka Ash Cash is a speaker, bestselling author, personal finance expert, and business consultant. Ash has established himself as a thought leader and trusted voice with Corporate America, Colleges, Churches, and Community based organizations. He is the Head of Financial Education at BankMobile and Editor-in-Chief at Paradigm Money.

The Daily Digm (News)

Your Credit Score May Be on the Rise + Why This May Be Good News for Your Insurance Premiums

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Effective immediately many Americans… Well, actually millions of Americans have begun to see their credit scores bump up after the credit reporting agencies began stripping out some non-loan collections accounts and other negative credit information from people’s credit reports. This is because of settlements made with state attorneys general dating back to 2015. The negative credit information removed is mainly medical-debt collections that have been paid by an insurance company, inaccurate information or accounts that failed to reflect repayment efforts. It is said that one collection account is worth 11 points once removed.

So how will this jump affect your Insurance premium? When dealing with insurance, there are a lot of factors that determine just how much your premiums are. Anything from your gender and age, to your driving record or criminal record. But there is your credit score is another factor that a lot of people might not know about. Your credit score can play a huge role in determining just how much you have to pay for insurance.

Insurance Rates based on your credit is not a very well known fact, but it has become one of the norms in recent years. Insurance companies will now look at your credit history, and if you have bad credit, you can expect to pay much higher premiums.

Many people will argue that your credit score has nothing to do with whether or not you will file a claim on your insurance policy but the insurance companies beg to differ. Regardless of how you feel, the policy is here to stay. That means you should be aware of your credit score when attempting to get insurance. If you have a bad credit score, you should make plans for paying higher premiums.

Keep in mind that insurance companies will look at various things, such as pending bills, loans, bankruptcy and more when determining your premium. But here’s the bright side to this. A lot of people who are sick of having to pay high premiums are taking better care of their finances in an attempt to raise their credit score so that they do not have to pay as much. So in some twisted way, it can be a bit beneficial since it gives more incentive to be more careful with your money.

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A Global Attack on ATM’s Seems Imminent + How to Protect Yourself From a Credit Card Fraud Attack

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BREAKING NEWS: According to a cybersecurity expert, The U.S. government has told banks that cybercriminals are preparing to carry out a global attack on ATMs. The FBI issued this warning of an “ATM cash-out” hack that would allow the criminals to withdraw large sums of money using stolen information. Something similar happened to a Virginia bank over eight months in 2016 and 2017 where hackers stole a reported $2.4 million.

Technology has become the gift, and the curse and when it comes to your debit card people are always trying to figure out how to defraud you. Credit card fraud has become a major problem in modern society as well. It continues to get worst, so it’s important we protect ourselves. The following are precautions you can take to prevent fraud:

Keep Your Actual Card In a Safe Place

In order to thwart credit card thieves, you should have your credit cards always with you in your possession or locked up in a safe place where no one has access. Some people like to keep credit cards in their car for emergency reasons, but that is a bad idea unless its put in an inconspicuous place or enclosed in something that doesn’t make it obvious. Keep in mind that not every card involved in credit card fraud is physically snatched. Some thieves will use only the credit card number and leave the card behind.

Stay Focused

Make sure you are alert with each credit transaction you make and get your card back immediately after it is finished. You do not want anyone to have access to your card without your knowledge where they take a picture of it or writing down the numbers.

Take Caution When Buying Online

Cyberspace has become a breeding ground for credit card fraud. You need to be cautious about the online companies and website that you supply your credit card number with. Make sure you only shop at trusted and reputable brands.

Don’t Fall for E-mail Scams

Do not enter your credit card information into websites that you are linked to through emails. The best thing to do is to avoid giving out your credit card number online at all costs. But if you have to make an online payment, there are several reputable services that will allow you to pay without supplying your credit card information to a third party.

Invest in a Shredder

Some thieves will sink to any level to get access to your credit card information. Many will go through your garbage cans searching for credit card receipts or bill stubs with the complete account numbers on them. These numbers are then used to purchase things over the internet or to create a new credit card using your number and credit information. Any document containing your credit card account number should never be left lying around, and although it seems a bit extreme, you should never throw away sensitive items unless they are completely destroyed.

Check Your Statements and Credit Reports

Lastly, you should check your credit report periodically and add a feature where they will alert you to any unusual activity happening with your credit cards,  like increased balances or new accounts. Also check your statement regularly to make sure you catch unauthorized payments early. If you do find that unauthorized charges have been made to one or more of your credit cards, there are choices to be made and steps to be taken.

First off, you should call your credit card company and let them know that your credit card or credit card number may have been stolen and you want the card canceled. Now, the person who has taken your card cannot make any further purchases. Calling immediately will lessen your chances of having to pay for the charges made to your card and limit the amount of harm that has already been inflicted to your credit.

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Google Is Following Your Every Move + How to Follow the Moves of Successful Entrepreneurs

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Sometimes I feel like… Somebody’s watching me!!! And now we know who… According to a recent AP study, Google tracks your whereabouts even when you’ve opted out and told them not to. Researchers found that the leading search-engine automatically stores time-stamped location data through some apps after users turn off Location History on their smartphones. Google who is owned by Alphabet, makes money by selling data such as foot-traffic metrics to advertisers. This is a plus for them but can be a burden on your budget because with this information advertisers can target you directly for things you want and the time you may not have the control to say no to. Data has been the winning formula for technology companies as of late so if you want to be a business person you must also take advantage of data. The following are ways to follow the moves of successful entrepreneurs:

Have the Right Business Mindset

Many entrepreneurs are running successful businesses because they have a routine and a recipe for success that they follow diligently. When most successful entrepreneurs are asked about their secrets of success, they often point to their mental attitude. There isn’t a one size fit all secret except to have the right mental attitude to win in whatever your business is.

Take Advantage of Technology

Technology has proved to be beneficial in any business but especially for entrepreneurs. With technology, a small company can look and function like a fortune 500 company and attract the clients that it wants.  Most successful businesses make sure they leverage technology in order to run their businesses more efficiently.

Be Clear About Your Goals

This goes without saying, but it is going to be difficult to hit a moving target. Those who are successful as entrepreneurs are crystal clear about what they are trying to accomplish. They have a tight laser focus on their goals and make sure they are working towards those goals every single day. If an activity doesn’t align with their ultimate destination, they do not participate. Understanding when to say NO is an important part of being a successful entrepreneur.

Be Decisive

Most successful entrepreneurs are very decisive and know how to make the right decision under tight deadlines. With being clear about your goals, there will be many times that something may seem like it is aligned with your vision but you must not only look at the short or mid-term, you must look at all decisions in the long term as well to decide whether this is beneficial or not. Most successful entrepreneurs know how to follow their business is and gut feeling to make the right choice. And even if they make the wrong choice, they are decisive enough to pivot when needed.

Follow these four steps, and you will be on your way… But I know there are more… What are some other success traits that successful entrepreneurs have? Comment below and let us know your thoughts

 

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