What a Bad Credit Score Is

What is considered a bad credit score can vary depending on the credit scoring model being used but, ultimately, it comes down to what each lender considers a “bad” credit score. Your credit score is used by lenders to assess the risk that you may pose to them, should they provide you credit, and each lender may consider a different score as a “bad” credit score. When considering the most commonly used credit scoring model, FICO, the scores range from 300 to 850, and is usually categorized in the following ranges:

  • Excellent Credit: 781 – 850
  • Good Credit: 661-780
  • Fair Credit: 601-660
  • Poor Credit: 501-600
  • Bad Credit: below 500

The information in your credit report from credit bureaus is used to determine your credit score.

While the above ranges can help you get a better idea of where your credit score falls in regards to typical risk assessment and quality of credit, as stated above, each lender may consider a different score as being a “bad” credit score. For example, an auto loan lender may consider a credit score between 300 and 500 as being a bad credit score while a mortgage lender will likely consider a credit score between 300 and 650 as being a bad credit score.

What Does A Bad Credit Score Mean For Me?

For many people the subject of credit scores can be a stressful, if not sensitive, topic to discuss, especially if your credit score falls within the range that is typically considered as a bad credit score. There are numerous reasons that someone would have a bad credit score – many of which may not have been in your control – but here you are now, with “bad” credit, and it’s important to know how it will affect you.

First of all, as you may have already experienced, a lower credit score can lead to you being denied by a lender for anything from buying a mattress with a payment plan to a new home mortgage. Being denied credit, a mortgage, or even a job because of poor or bad credit can be stressful and frustrating but even being approved by a lender while your credit score is low can cost you greatly. With a bad credit score, if a lender does approve you, they will give you a very high interest rate which can cost you thousands of dollars extra. For instance, with a $25,000 5-year car loan at an interest rate of 16% (which could be significantly higher with bad credit) would likely cost you over $6,000 more than if you had decent credit and were able to get the same loan with an interest rate of 8% (which could be significantly lower with a 700+ credit score) – a typical home mortgage could cost you an extra $100,000 in interest!

What Gives You A Bad Credit Score & What You Can Do To Improve Your Score

If you’ve discovered that your credit score falls into the “bad” credit range, it is helpful to know what may have caused your credit score to drop. You can get this information by reviewing your credit report which will include any negative items which negatively impacted your credit score, causing you to have a bad credit score. There are a number of things that may give you a bad credit score, a few of which include:

  • Defaulting on a loan or credit card
  • Paying a credit card/loan/mortgage payment late
  • Foreclosure
  • Bankruptcy
  • Changing your address too frequently
  • Running frequent credit checks
  • Keeping a high balance to credit limit ratio

The above are some of the most common issues that lead to a poor or bad credit score but there are many others as well. It is important to review your credit report with a credit consultant to help shine more light on what may have caused your credit score to drop and how you can improve or repair your credit.

Thankfully, having a bad credit score is not the end of the world. There is a light at the end of the tunnel as there are many ways to improve your credit score or repair your credit. Here are a few ways in which you can take control of your credit and work on getting your score back up:

  • Pay your bills on time. Delinquent payments and collections can have a major negative impact on a credit score.
  • Keep balances low on credit cards and other “revolving credit”. High outstanding debt can affect a credit score.
  • Apply for and open new credit accounts only as needed. Don’t open accounts just to have a better credit mix. It probably won’t improve your credit score.
  • Pay off debt rather than moving it around. Also, don’t close unused cards as a short-term strategy to improve your credit score. Owing the same amount but having fewer open accounts may lower your credit score.

Another option to get out of that “bad” credit score range quickly, is to repair your credit score by disputing negative credit items which are showing up on your credit report. This can be done manually or through a credit repair company. In many cases there may be false information or even simple mistakes that can allow the negative times to be disputed and removed from your credit report. By removing these negative items from your credit report, your credit score will go up.

Source: creditabsolute.com

Robot Vacuums: Fun Floor Cleaning Technology for Your Apartment

Wouldn’t it be nice to have a robot maid to clean your apartment for you, just like Rosie the Robot on “The Jetsons?” While cleaning technology hasn’t come quite THAT far, there are some modern-day solutions that make floor cleaning less of a chore.

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We take a look at some cleaning technology for apartments that makes the robot maid seem plausible. (Who knows? You may be able to talk to your robots, someday soon, and they may complain right back!)

How do they work?
Robot vacs use infrared sensors and multiple motors to assess and cover the room in which they are left to do their dirty work. While the exact formula for determining how long the device should roam is unknown to all but the manufacturer, the theory seems to be that enough time spent zigzagging in a systematic pattern should allow the machine to reach every accessible inch of a room. (Sensors warn and divert the device when an obstacle like a drop-off comes near.)

Like any vacuum, the robot collects dirt and dust. The latest models return to a home base to empty themselves and recharge. Current techie wisdom about robot vacuums is that they are much improved from their early days, but still somewhat hit or miss when left to their own devices to cover an entire room.

The Roomba and other iRobots
The Roomba by iRobot is the first product many think of when they hear the term “robotic vacuum.” It was the first of its kind to market and has won a lot of loyal fans. Once the Roomba is charged, it goes to work cleaning your floors and can be programmed to clean carpet or hardwoods.

Like the idea of a robotic maid, but have more of a mobile mop in mind? Look into iRobot’s Scooba. The Scooba has a squeegee-vacuum system that washes floors without pushing around dirty water, as a conventional mop would. (This might be the way to go if your apartment is carpet-free.) The iRobot Mint is another robotic cleaner which uses microfibers to sweep and mop hard floor surfaces.

More on cleaning your apartment:
10 Tips to Detox Your ApartmentTips to Keep Your Apartment Allergen-Free17 Cleaning Essentials for Your ApartmentHow to Get Your Space Cleaned in a Hurry10 Ways to Eliminate Home Allergens

Neato Automatic Vacuum Cleaners
The Neato line of robotic vacuum cleaners share a lot of the features of their competitive counterparts. They also map a room (using their own proprietary formula), clean in a pattern and work on different types of flooring. While Neato only offers vacuums, they have come out with a special pet and allergy model for those who desire a deep level of clean.

Samsung’s Smart Tango Corner Clean
As of this writing, Samsung has just announced its new Smart Tango Corner Clean. Along with the usual functions found in robotic cleaners, this automatic vacuum has special attachments that are designed to clean corners, spots that are traditionally difficult for robotic vacuums to reach.

No matter which robotic vacuum or cleaner you want to purchase, do your homework first! Check out reviews by editors and users on sites like CNET, PCWorld, or Amazon. Make your informed choice, and then sit back, relax and let your personal robot assistant do the floor cleaning for you!

Photo Credit: Shutterstock / Jirsak

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Source: apartmentguide.com

5 Tips for Finding a Rental With a Large Dog

It’s not uncommon for pet-friendly apartment communities to have weight and breed restrictions. What should the owner of a large dog do?

Finding an affordable and comfortable apartment can be an incredibly time-consuming process. Add a large dog to the mix, and it’s next to impossible.

That’s what Jan Even, owner of a 90-pound Rottweiler mix, experienced during her Bay Area apartment search. She was planning to rent in San Francisco or the East Bay and began her search by looking at pet-friendly apartments.

“I couldn’t find a single place that would accept my dog. She’s perfectly well-behaved, but a lot of the places that bill themselves as pet-friendly have restrictions about types of dogs they will accept,” she said. “Eventually we concluded we weren’t going to be able to find a rental because of our dog. Now we’re looking at real estate to buy.”

It’s not uncommon for apartment communities — even those that are dog-friendly — to have weight and breed restrictions. So, what’s the owner of a large dog to do?

Look into single-family rentals

Large apartment complexes are mostly likely to have size and breed restrictions in their pet policies. Landlords of individually-owned properties are more likely to be flexible and accept large dog breeds on a case-by-case basis. Use keywords like “pet friendly” or “dog friendly” in your search filter to narrow down rental listings.

Use advocacy groups as a resource

There are plenty of other dog owners who have been in your shoes. The Humane Society of the United States has a list of tips for finding rental housing with pets. Your local animal shelter, breed rescue or advocacy group likely has a list of apartment communities that will accept your specific breed. For example, the website My Pit Bull is Family has a list of pit bull-friendly rental housing providers in each state.

Have all your documents prepared

In addition to preparing documents like obedience training and vaccination records, ask your landlord or veterinarian to write a reference for your pet, vouching for your dog’s behavior.

“A reference from a previous landlord can be huge in changing the mind of the landlord,” said KC Theisen, director of pet care issues at the Humane Society of the United States. “One other thing I recommend, in addition to pet resumes and references is a pet interview. If your dog is a great dog, offer to bring them by the rental office for a meet and greet. It’s very hard for a landlord to look at a sweet, well-mannered dog in the eye and say no.”

Plan extra time for the search

Understand that finding a rental with a large dog may not be easy. Allot additional time to find the right home for you and your dog. If you’d normally give yourself one month to find an apartment, double that to two since a good majority of rentals won’t be pet-friendly. If you really need extra time, consider getting a short-term rental and boarding your dog while you continue your search.

Be flexible

Finding a rental with a large dog may require flexibility on your end. Understand that you may be required to pay an additional pet deposit, pay extra for insurance that covers your dog’s breed or even rent on a month-to-month basis until your pooch earns the landlord’s approval. Follow the pet guidelines to show that you and your dog are model tenants and willing to work with the landlord.

As you look for a place to rent, above all, sell yourself as a responsible pet owner. “The thing about big dogs is that they’re not that different from a small dog in terms of the amount of space they need or damage they’re going to do,” explained Theisen. “Each dog is an individual.”

Do you have any tips for finding a rental with your large dog? Share your experience with us in the comments below.

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Source: zillow.com