If you’re a typical Mission Viejo consumer, like most California residents, it wasn’t too long
ago that you were being constantly bombarded by offers to let you in on a secret: your credit score.
The “free credit score” ads got a lot of responses, but lately, they’ve grown scarcer. I think I know
It used to be that thrift-minded people shied away from plastic because it made overspending
too easy. Today, ubiquitous credit card bonus points and associated discounts and freebies make
the opposite true. After all, taking a vacation without using at least some of your credit card airline
“miles” or hotel “points” seems more careless than thrifty.
And the fact is, you don’t have to use the credit part of credit card purchases: if you’re
careful, you can pay off the balances before interest starts to accrue. And there’s a major additional
benefit to conscientious attention to of all your credit accounts— that is, the credit score
For many years, credit scores seemed a sort of hush-hush affair. That was before initiatives
by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and the Fair Isaac Corp (FICO) changed the rules of
the game, making it mandatory to allow free access to your credit scores. Even so, it was still a bit
of a hassle to get to see them—and the “free” access was limited to once a year.
But that’s been changing. Today, many credit card accounts include free access to the FICO
credit scores associated with them. If you use the card issuers’ online account systems, you’re
usually just a mouse click away from your most recent score. Apparently, the banks behind the
cards know it’s a good way to make online bill paying more attractive than snail mail—which is a
profit saver for them. At last count, by April of last year more than 150 million accounts included
the instant credit score feature.
What that means to Mission Viejo real estate transactions is a solid positive. When Mission
Viejo consumers can keep a steady watch on their credit scores, they are much more likely to
notice FICO mistakes or any of their own inadvertent slip-ups. The scores affect the interest rates
associated with their credit card accounts—but they also heavily influence the offers they can
expect from the mortgage underwriters.
I recommend prequalifying for a home loan: it’s one of the best ways to make your offer the
winner in a multiple offer scenario. For other ideas that give you a head start when it comes to
buying or selling Mission Viejo real estate, just give me a call!
Realtor BRE # 01880463, The Associates Realty Group