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Four Top Tips to Boost Your Credit Score

By Mary Heerwald | September 23, 2020

You know what goes into a credit score is and why your score is important (if you don’t, check out this helpful resource). Now, what can be done about a low or middle-of-the-road score – especially if you’re trying to qualify for a mortgage? While it’s important to remember that everyone can improve their credit scores, you won’t see the results overnight. However, the steps you take now can have radical implications over time and will move you closer to the coveted “Excellent” score range.  Here’s how to make a big impact on your credit score: Pay bills on time.Payment history, which myFico revealed makes up about 35% of your FICO Score, has the single-biggest effect on your credit score. By law, late payments cannot be sent to the reporting bureaus until they are 30 days overdue (though you can still incur late fees). So while you have a short grace period, staying on top of credit card payments and making sure any outstanding bills don’t go to collections  is critical – these dings can stay on your credit report for seven years. Reduce your credit card balances…or don’t carry a balance. We recommend setting up automatic payments whenever feasible to make managing your balances easier (bonus: automating also ensures your bills will be paid on time). Paying off credit cards monthly is a great…

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Serious worried senior couple calculating bills to pay or checking domestic finances stressed of debt, retired elderly old family reading documents concerned about loan bankruptcy money problems

3 Ways COVID-19 Has Impacted Retirement Savings Accounts

By Mary Heerwald | August 19, 2020

Even though news about the CARES Act focused on the stimulus checks and benefits for those who were unemployed, there were also far-reaching implications for retirement savings. This has created contention among financial experts as to whether leveraging retirement accounts is a good idea. Doing so can neutralize some financial stress, but there is also a major impact on your future retirement. It can impact retirement timing as well as income. In case you opt to tap into your retirement savings, here are some ways you can do so: You might be able to take an early distribution. If you’re enrolled in certain tax-advantaged retirement plans — like a 401(k), 403(b), 457, or Traditional IRA — you could be eligible to take out up to $100,000 in 2020 without paying the 10% penalty tax. This is called a “hardship distribution” and if you’re under age 59.5 and are considering this emergency withdrawal, we suggest talking to your financial advisor or CPA. (Don’t have one? We’ve got you covered: reach out to your Sente contact for a vetted recommendation.)    Loan options have been expanded. Normally, owners of certain retirement accounts, like 401(k)s, are allowed to borrow up to $50,000 or 50% of their vested account balance, whichever is less. This depends on if your employer allows retirement plan loans, but most do — and there…

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What does the FHFA’s Announcement on Refinances Actually Mean?

By Mary Heerwald | August 13, 2020

As a borrower considering a refinance, you may have heard some confusing, upsetting news coming from government entities Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac this week. The Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA), which regulates Fannie and Freddie, is imposing a new price hike of 0.5% of the loan amount on all refinances. Simply put: doing a refinance will suddenly be more expensive. When will this go into effect? Consumers starting a refinance will feel this change immediately – but we are working to combat it.  If this announcement stands, the ongoing burden will be put on the American homeowner. Refinances for the average home in this country will become around $1,400 more expensive. In the long run, this could cost consumers billions of dollars.  Here at Sente Mortgage, we value honesty, clarity, and doing the right thing. So to be clear, we fully oppose this decision. The announcement comes at a time when the country is battling a pandemic and a struggling economy, and while other government agencies are offering relief to communities. Borrowers experiencing the deepest economic hurt right now will be the ones most adversely affected by this sudden price change. As your partners on the journey through every stage of homeownership, we take our responsibility to act in your best interests seriously. We are fighting this new mandate by calling and sending letters…

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