A Guide To Your Credit Rating

Your credit rating, which can also be referred to as your credit score, is something which is often talked about or used in adverts and credit applications – but what exactly does it mean, how are they calculated and why are they important? Hopefully by the time you have finished reading this you should understand more about them and how to improve or maintain your own rating.

What is a credit rating?
A credit rating is a 3 digit number which shows how you have handled credit in the past and is therefore a good indicator of how you will handle credit in the future. Lenders use your credit rating to help them come to a decision when you make an application for a credit facility, such as a loan, credit card, mortgage or an overdraft. The higher your credit rating, the better you have handled credit in the past and therefore the more likely you will be accepted for credit.

Why is a good credit rating important?
A good credit rating is a big indicator on how successful you will be with a credit application, however it is not only the success of credit applications that can be affected by it. If you work in financial services for example, prospective employers may ask to check your credit rating before offering you a job, insurance companies can check your credit rating when you apply for insurance and this can affect your offered rate and your mobile phone or internet provider will also check your credit rating before agreeing to offer you their services.

What improves your credit rating
There are a few easy ways to improve your credit score, which starts with ensuring you are on the electoral roll at your current address. This ensures accuracy for a creditor when confirming your identity and your current address, which reduces their risk when you make a credit application. The less risk involved to a lender when you make a credit application, the more comfortable they will be at lending you the credit.

If you have existing credit facilities, like a loan or credit card, ensuring you pay your repayments in time each month helps show you are a responsible borrower and improves your credit rating.

Paying your household bills on time can also improve your credit rating, as many utility providers now report to the credit rating agencies, so this will show that you are responsible at repaying bills.

What reduces your credit rating
There are also ways your credit score can be reduced that you can actively try to work towards minimising, so they do not apply to you. The first you should try to achieve is to keep your credit card balances as low to a % of the total limit as you can, and ideally no more than 25-30%. So, if you had a credit card with a limit of £3,000, you should attempt to ensure your balance is no higher than between £750-£900 every month. If your credit card balance % reach the levels of 80-90% or greater of their total balances, then this will have a particularly detrimental effect on your credit rating, as it shows that you are currently struggling to reduce your credit balances and therefore is a sign that you could be in financial difficulty.

Your overall level of unsecured debt can also reduce your credit score, with some credit reference agencies indicating that total unsecured debt of £20,000 or higher can make a small impact on your credit rating regardless of your repayment history as you may be a higher risk for further lending.

Making multiple credit applications in a short period of time is another trigger that can reduce your credit rating, as it can indicate you are desperate for credit and therefore currently higher risk.

You should also regularly check your credit report to check for mistakes, as lenders can occasionally get things wrong. If this happens, by engaging with the credit rating agency and the lender these mistakes can be addressed which will correct your credit rating once again.

However, the major impactors on your credit rating however are missing repayments on a loan or credit card, with multiple offences in succession of each other particularly adverse to your rating. A CCJ or defaulting on an account is also particularly detrimental to your credit rating, along with an insolvency procedure such as bankruptcy.

I have been turned down for credit because of my credit rating, what can I do?
If you have been turned down for credit, then it’s unlikely that an application with another lender will be successful. Your credit rating will have been impacted by the search and refusal from the first debt credit application, and lenders generally have similar criteria for credit ratings when accepting applications.

If you have been seeking further credit, this may be as you are struggling to maintain the repayments on your existing debts or are unable to manage your outgoings without taking further debt. This is a sign that you should seek advice on what options are available to help you with your current debts before your situation deteriorates further.

Seek professional advice – Contact us now
Our dedicated team of debt advisers are ready to help you deal with your debts and can talk you through all your options for free. They will provide clear advice on how you can move forward with your debt and get debt written off.

Our advisers are non-judgemental, and everything discussed is confidential so you can talk to us if you have a personal, health or other issue that has made it harder for you to manage your finances.

If you are based in Northern Ireland, if you prefer you can also come visit our offices in Belfast for a face-to-face meeting.

To arrange a call back with a debt adviser just click here.

Selling a property in winter? Here are our tips for seasonal staging.

Winter can be a difficult time to sell a property, but with the right staging, you can turn the season to your advantage. Here are our tips for success when selling your home in winter.

Start from theoutside.

We don’t get a lot of snow in Northern Ireland, but when it comes it can be a hazard, as can the ice that appears more frequently. Make sure you keep your driveway and any paths around the outside of your house clear of snow and ice so potential buyers don’t fall when they come to view your house.

It’s also a good idea to get out and make sure any hedges or outdoor plants are presentable. It’s easy to neglect the garden when it’s cold outside, but taking care of this area will make your house look much more appealing to house hunters.

Don’t forget the windows.

Even in the warmer months, many people forget to take care of their windows, but during the winter it’s especially important to keep them clean both inside and outside. During the winter, windows can accumulate a layer of grime that blocks some of the natural light you’ll want to get in to brighten up your interiors.

Keep your house bright.

Switch the lights on when you have people in to view your house, even during the day. It’s dark enough in winter, so keeping your house well-lit will make it feel more inviting to prospective buyers. Make sure you replace any light bulbs that need changing and add a few lamps to darker spaces.

If you can make the most of what natural light is available by scheduling viewings during the late morning and afternoon, this is worth doing. Keep the curtains open to allow as much natural light in as possible.

Make it warm and comfortable.

If you have a fireplace in the house, light it before viewers arrive. This will help make the house appealing by warming it up and giving it a nice ambience. Turn the heating on as well to keep the whole house a comfortable temperature so people stay long enough to appreciate the property.

Arranging sofas and beds with heavy winter blankets, duvets and cushions will also make the house look like a comfortable place to spend cold winter days. Choosing warm colours will help set the mood as well.

Contact Us.

With so much to do when selling a house, you need an estate agent who will make the process as easy as possible for you. So, if you’re looking planning on selling, take a look at our website or visit us in one of our branches in Templepatrick or on the Lisburn Road in Belfast and find out how we can help you make your next move.

Struggling With Debts In Belfast? Make 2019 The Year You Get Your Finances Back On Track.

Debt is a normal part of most people’s personal finances. Everyone relies on credit cards, over drafts, personal loans and mortgages at some point in their lives. Whether you’re renovating your house, paying for a holiday or just tiding yourself over until payday, everyone borrows.

For some people, however, debts can become unmanageable. Sometimes a pay cut or losing a job can make your repayments unaffordable. Sometimes low wages lead to chronic debt you can’t escape from.

Often people find their debt situation gets worse at the start of the New Year. Christmas spending on credit and store cards can add to existing debts, leaving you owing more than usual.

If this situation sounds familiar to you, then we can help. At Get Help With Debt, we can help you to write off thousands of pounds in debt and provide you with a range of options for dealing with the remainder.

For some clients a debt management plan might be what they need to get to grips with their debt. With a debt management plan, you will only have one monthly payment to make and you will only pay what you can afford until your debts have been cleared.

For others, an individual voluntary arrangement, or IVA, might be the best option. An IVA is a legally binding agreement between you and your lender and could make you debt free in as little as five years. We’ll stop your creditors from calling or writing to you to demand payments and freeze any late fees or charges you’ve incurred.

For a few clients, self-petition bankruptcy might be necessary. You will have to put any available disposable income you have towards this for three years, but you won’t have to deal with your creditors anymore and once your bankruptcy is completed you will be able to start fresh.

So, if you’re living in Northern Ireland and struggling with debt, whether your credit cards have gotten out of control, store cards are mounting up or you have a mortgage you just can’t afford, we can help you. Go online to www.gethelpwithdebt.co.uk and take our free online debt assessment or request a call back to discuss your situation and take the first step to becoming debt free.

Rising Household Debt Poses Risk To UK Economy.

Rising household debt, combined with stagnant wages, poses a major threat to the UK economy, according to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).

The OECD warned that personal loans such as credit cards presented a much greater risk of default compared to mortgages and said that worsening economic conditions could make repayments unaffordable for many borrowers.

The Paris based think tank said it expected UK growth to be the lowest of the G7 economies and that this will constrain wage growth, putting more pressure on already strained household finances.

It called for tougher affordability checks to be introduced to stop banks from lending to customers who might struggle with repayments, to prevent the banks from running into trouble should they be faced with a higher default rate.

The UK’s unsecured debt on credit cards, store cards, personal loans and car finance deals reached £200 billion this year, the same level it was at just before the 2008 financial crisis.

We can help.

If you’re one of those people struggling with unmanageable store card debt, there are options, however.At Get Help With Debt, we can write off thousands of pounds in debt and help you to manage the remainder, so it’s affordable for you.

Go online to our website and take our free online assessment, then book your free, no obligation consultation with one of our debt advisors to find out how we can help you.

Once you’ve met with your advisor we can present you with a range of bespoke solutions and you can make an informed decision about what approach is best for you. After that we do all the hard work, handling all third party communications for you, so you don’t have to deal with your lender anymore.So, go to www.gethelpwithdebt.co.uk and start the process of becoming debt free.

Moving and need to sell a house fast?

Selling a house can be a long process. In Northern Ireland, the average time it takes to sell a property is 119 days, about three months, and for some sellers this is just too long.

If you need to move house, perhaps because you have a sale agreed on another property or you need to move city, or even country for a new job or to enjoy your retirement somewhere warm you can’t afford to wait three months to sell your existing home.

Moving can be a difficult enough process, especially if you’re going to live abroad, and having to handle a protracted sale at the same time is only going to make it more difficult.

We can help you get your home sold as quickly as possible, so you can move on with your life without the burden of an old property holding you back.

At Fast House Sale NI, we can agree an offer on your property within 24-48 hours and can complete the sale as quickly or as slowly as you like depending on your needs. Once we have made an offer it will remain valid for 28 days, so you have time to make your mind up, if you need to, and we never pressure you during that time.

Selling a house with us could also save you money. We typically buy properties for 80-85% of their market value. This might sound like you’re going to make a loss, but you will make important savings along the way.

If you sell your property through an estate agent, you will have to have a valuation, there will be solicitor’s fees, the estate agent will have to get their share and, of course, you will have to keep paying your mortgage until the sale is completed, however long that takes.

If you chose to sell your home with us, however, we provide a free valuation, consultation and we will pay up to £1000 of your solicitor’s costs. Selling your house to us is much cheaper than a conventional sale and you could save money on the mortgage as well.

We also offer much more discretion, than you will get with an estate agent. Privacy is important, especially during a difficult time, such as when you are going through a divorce. When dealing with us, there’s no need for a billboard outside your house. We won’t post pictures of your house online or in a shop window for everyone to look at. When you sell your house with Fast House Sale NI, we guarantee confidentiality.

So, if you’re in Northern Ireland and you need to sell your house quickly, call Fast House Sale NI now on 0844 846 8880 and we will make you an offer within 48 hours.

At CD Fairfield, we recently sponsored Noireland, Ireland’s first three day crime fiction festival, organised by No Alibis independent bookshop.

We supported Noireland in organising a series of creative writing workshops with leading crime writers to develop a new generation of local authors and screenwriters.

With more than 2000 people attending the festival, organiser David Torrans, was pleased with how it went.

He said; “This was the first three day crime fiction festival in Ireland and it went very, very well. We had a full house for the opening event on the Friday, with more than 500 people. Over the weekend we had over 2000 people attend the festival.”

According to David, the festival wouldn’t have been as successful without the support from CD Fairfield.

“Without the support from CD Fairfield, we simply wouldn’t have had as complete or full a festival. CD Fairfield helped us to organise workshops so people could engage directly with leading crime fiction authors, helping to sow the seeds of future creativity.”

At CD Fairfield we’re pleased to have been able to support this great new addition to Belfast’s cultural calendar and to help aspiring new writers develop through the Noireland workshops.

Credit card debt spiralling out of control?

Northern Ireland has a serious debt problem. According to research by debt charity Step Change, the average amount of debt in Northern Ireland has now reached £14,367 and it’s growing.

Credit card debt is the most common form of unsecured debt people here are struggling with, with more than two thirds, 67.2%, of people who seek debt advice dealing with more than £8,000 in credit card debt.

With wages stagnant since the financial crisis a decade ago and the cost of living continuing to rise, it’s no surprise that many people have been forced to turn to credit just to make ends meet. With inflation rising and no sign of wage growth, the situation could still get worse.

In fact, with speculation mounting that the Bank of England might raise interest rates soon, many borrowers could find themselves having to pay more if their lender choses to pass on some or all of the increase to their customers. This won’t affect the rate you’re currently paying on existing loans, but if you borrow more money you could find it more expensive.

If you’re one of those people struggling with unmanageable credit card debt, there are options, however.

At Get Help With Debt, we can write off thousands of pounds in debt and help you to manage the remainder, so it’s affordable for you.

Go online to our website and take our free online assessment, then book your free, no obligation consultation with one of our debt advisors to find out how we can help you.

Once you’ve met with your advisor we can present you with a range of bespoke solutions and you can make an informed decision about what approach is best for you. After that we do all the hard work, handling all third party communications for you, so you don’t have to deal with your lender anymore.

So, if you’re in Northern Ireland and struggling with debt you can’t afford, go to www.gethelpwithdebt.co.uk and start the process of moving on from your debts.

Need Help With Debt?

Debt is a normal part of most people’s personal finances. Everyone relies on credit cards, over drafts, personal loans and mortgages at some point in their lives. Whether you’re renovating your house, paying for a holiday or just tiding yourself over until payday, everyone borrows.

For some people, however, debts can become unmanageable. Sometimes a pay cut or losing a job can make your repayments unaffordable. Sometimes low wages lead to chronic debt you can’t escape from.  Whatever the circumstances, we can help.

At Get Help With Debt, we can help you to write off thousands of pounds in debt and provide you with a range of options for dealing with the remainder.

For some clients a debt management plan might be what they need to get to grips with their debt. With a debt management plan, you will only have one monthly payment to make and you will only pay what you can afford until your debts have been cleared.

For others, an individual voluntary arrangement, or IVA, might be the best option. An IVA is a legally binding agreement between you and your lender and could make you debt free in as little as five years. We’ll stop your creditors from calling or writing to you to demand payments and freeze any late fees or charges you’ve incurred.

For a few clients, self-petition bankruptcy might be necessary. You will have to put any available disposable income you have towards this for three years, but you won’t have to deal with your creditors anymore and once your bankruptcy is completed you will be able to start fresh.

So, if you’re living in Northern Ireland and struggling with debt, whether your credit cards have gotten out of control, store cards are mounting up or you have a mortgage you just can’t afford, we can help you.

Go online to www.gethelpwithdebt.co.uk and take our free online debt assessment or request a call back to discuss your situation and take the first step to becoming debt free.

 

Buying a house? Here’s our guide to the different types of mortgage.

Buying a house can be a complicated process, with borrowers having to make decisions about their budget, the type of property they want, their solicitor and more.

One of the most important decisions you’ll have to make is deciding what type of mortgage you want to take. This isn’t helped by the fact that the mortgage products which are available can change.

So, whether you’re a first time buyer, buying to let, or planning on downsizing, here’s our guide to the different types of mortgages available.

Fixed Rate.

Fixed rate mortgages have become increasingly popular with homebuyers. As the name suggests, the interest rate on these mortgages is fixed for an initial term when you take it out. This term can be two, five, or sometimes as much as ten years. A fixed rate mortgage ensures that your monthly repayments will stay the same over this initial period.

The main selling point for fixed rate mortgages is that it offers certainty about what your mortgage costs will be, allowing you to plan your finances more effectively. With speculation mounting that an interest rate rise may be imminent, many mortgage experts are advising customers to fix their mortgage for as long as possible to avoid any unexpected rate rises that may be coming.

One possible downside of opting for a fixed rate mortgage is that you will probably miss out on a more competitive deal if your lender’s standard variable rate (SVR) is lower than the fixed rate, or falls below it.

Standard Variable Rate.

The standard variable rate is set by your lender and varies from one lender to the next, though the average rate is currently around 4.5%. This rate is influenced by the Bank of England’s base rate, but isn’t directly tied to it and the lender can increase or cut this rate at any time.

With the base rate currently low, opting for an SVR can be good value, however, sooner or later this rate will go up and you have no control over when or by how much it increases, so it offers less certainty and security.

Tracker.

Another type of variable rate loan is a tracker mortgage. As the name suggests, a tracker mortgage tracks the Bank of England’s base rate, rising or falling as it does.

Typically a tracker mortgage will follow the base rate at a given margin above or below it. So, if your tracker mortgage were to be base rate plus 1%, that would mean your current interest rate would be 1.25%. Longer term tracker mortgages will usually have a larger margin, for example base rate plus 3.5%.

Tracker mortgages can either be taken as an introductory rate, usually for a period of one to five years, or they can cover the whole life of the mortgage.

With interest rates having been kept at historically low levels for years, tracker mortgages have offered some very good deals, however, interest rates can’t really fall any further and, as we noted above,
speculation is mounting that a rise in the base rate will happen quite soon, so these mortgages may lose their appeal for many borrowers.

Interest Only.

All of the loans we’ve talked about have been repayment have been repayment mortgages, where you pay off the loan itself, plus some interest, every month. You can, however, also take out an interest only mortgage, where you only pay the interest on the loan every month.

This has the advantage of keeping your monthly repayments down, but does mean that you will need to have a repayment vehicle in place so that you can repay the full value of the loan when the term ends.

Interest only mortgages are popular with landlords who want to keep their monthly repayments down in order to maximise their rental yield. For other borrowers, taking out an interest only mortgage can be a risky strategy, as you may find you can’t afford to repay the capital on the loan at the end of the term, which could lead to your home being repossessed.

Contact Us.

With so much to do and so many costs to meet when buying a house, you need an estate agent who will make the process as easy as possible for you. So, if you’re looking for a new home, take a look at our website or visit us in one of our branches in Templepatrick or on the Lisburn Road in Belfast and find out how we can help you find the perfect home.

Why use Fast House Sale NI?

For most people planning on selling their home, the best option will be to use a conventional estate agent. For some sellers, however, getting the house sold as quickly as possible might be important. There are a number of reasons why this might be the case, they may be emigrating or dealing with debts, for example. In those cases Fast House Sale NI offers the best service for people who need to get a sale as quickly as possible.

It’s fast.

This might sound obvious, it’s in the name after all, but for some people selling their property it really is important to get a sale sorted as quickly as they possible can.

At Fast House Sale NI, we can agree an offer on your property within 24-48 hours and can complete the sale as quickly or as slowly as you like depending on your needs. Once we have made an offer it will remain valid for 28 days, so you have time to make your mind up, if you need to, and we never pressure you during that time.
Change of Circumstances.

Most people buy their home with the intention of staying in the property and making a life there, but sometimes circumstances change. Perhaps you bought your home as a young couple, but now you have a child on the way and the house just isn’t big enough. Maybe you bought with your partner and now you’re separating and want to move on from the house you shared. You might have found a new job and need to move before you start.

Whatever the circumstances, it’s important for you to deal with your existing property before you can move on. We can take the property off your hands as quickly as you need, leaving you free to move on.

It can save you money.

At Fast House Sale NI, we will usually offer around 80-85% of the value of your property. For some sellers this might sound like they’re losing money, but in some situations this can amount to a saving. Selling a house can be expensive in itself. You will have to have a valuation, there will be solicitor’s fees, the estate agent will have to get their share and, of course, you will have to keep paying your mortgage until the sale is completed, however long that takes.

At Fast House Sale NI, there are no hidden costs or catches. We provide a free valuation, consultation and we will pay up to £1000 of your solicitor’s costs. Selling your house to us is much cheaper than a conventional sale and you could save money on the mortgage as well.

So, if you’re in Northern Ireland and you need to sell your house quickly, call Fast House Sale NI now on 0844 846 8880 and we will make you an offer within 48 hours.