Tag Archives: equifax

The Big House/Longer Commute Trade-off

Equifax shows how to avoid too much mortgageFor the past few years, the big news in home buying has been no news. Home buying activity has been relatively flat recently thanks to the downturn in the housing market. But not long ago, during the housing boom, the big news was how big homes were becoming. Remember all the McMansion headlines? Buyers bought into the trend that bigger homes were better. Many buyers bought more home than they could afford.  As the housing market begins to creep back up, buyers should be more cautious about what they really need in a home and not get stuck living beyond their means in a giant house.

The new Equifax Finance blog article “

What Kind of Mortgage Can You Afford?” explains further, warning buyers to not get trapped into buying the biggest house they can afford, even if it is miles and miles away from work. Combining commuting expenses with housing expenses can give buyers a better idea of how much they can afford. If you are going to live 30 miles from work, you have to take into account your transportation costs when determining what you can afford each month. Take into account rising gas prices, vehicle maintenance, highway tolls, parking fees, etc.  Could you live 15 minutes away from work, save about half on commuting, and have a slightly smaller home? What would you be willing to trade to swap the time spent in your car with time spend with your family? Or, could you take advantage of public transportation? The greener choice would be to live as close to work as possible to reduce transportation times.

A good estimate of housing plus transportation costs is about 45 percent of your monthly take-home pay, but yours could be more or less depending on various factors, like whether or not you can use public transportation, how much gas your car guzzles, etc.  But the bottom line is that there will be give and take when it comes to the two. Lower transportation costs mean you can afford more home; higher transportation costs mean less. And you should also take into account the full cost of owning a larger home, including utilities. That big home may not be that great of a deal when you face very cold winter heating or very warm summer cooling costs for that huge house.

Get more tips on finance, real estate, credit,

protection from identity theft, insurance and more at the Equifax Finance blog.

Identity Theft Information: First Aid for a Breach

First aid identity theft informationWith the holiday season just behind us, some people will open their credit cards statements in 2013 and be in shock because they suddenly need an identity theft solution for items they did not buy!

If you find that you are suddenly the victim of identity theft, the finance experts at the Equifax Finance Blog have a great article for you called, “What to Do if You’re the Victim of Identity Theft.”

In this article, the experts review six steps for people to take action on after they have had their identity compromised. Although prevention is always recommended for ID theft protection first, you may find yourself needing an emergency plan.

The experts suggest taking these steps to begin fixing the damage done by identity theft:

  • Fraud Alerts – File a fraud alert with Equifax, Experian and TransUnion, the three main consumer credit reporting agencies.
  • Close Accounts – Be sure to contact each individual company and close any fraudulent accounts if you find any. You will need to give them proof of your idenitity and sign fraud dispute papers in order for the accounts to be closed.
  • Alert/Monitoring – Check out the various credit monitoring services offered today. Equifax offers this service and will alert you of certain changes in your credit history, if you want to keep an eye on your credit report.

Be sure to see the full article to learn about the next three steps which continue the critical first aid process. For more great

identity theft information, please read the Equifax Finance Blog today!

Fed Issues Foreclosure Requirements

foreclosures and green housesNo doubt, the mortgage industry has been in turmoil for the past several years. The numbers of foreclosures have finally peaked, but in response to the  many fiascos and scandals over the last couple of years, the Feds recently issued requirements for lenders.  These requirements detail the steps that must be taken by well-known mortgage lenders, including Bank of America, Citibank, JPMorgan Chase and Wells Fargo to improve communication, oversight and more related to foreclosures.

According to Ilyce Glink, real estate expert at the

Equifax Personal Finance Blog,  the requirements were issued by the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency or OCC. Her recent article, “

Foreclosure Guidelines: OCC Takes Action,” talks about how the OCC is mandating that the banks improve their communication – both formal and informal – to make sure borrowers understand what’s gong on and that they receive the information they need when they need it.

Furthermore, lenders may no longer “dual-track.” That is, if a borrower goes into a loan modification program, the lender cannot continue to pursue foreclosure.

How will we know the banks are doing what they’re supposed to be doing? They must hire independent auditing firms to review their foreclosures from the problem timeframe – January 1, 2009, through December 31, 2010.

If you were among those who lost a home in an unfair foreclosure process, you’ll want to look at Glink’s article at the

Equifax Personal Finance Blog.  OCC has set up a restitution process and you can appeal. Check out the full information now and pass it along to those who have recently been affected by foreclosure.