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Credit score mix

The Must-Know Basics About Your Credit Score

What a credit score is and why you should care (if you care about your investments).

There’s a magical triple-digit number that seems to decide your fate in this world.

It can determine what car you drive, where you live, and how much money you can have at your disposal.

And in some cases, it can make or break your success as a real estate investor.

It’s your credit score.

But it’s not as magical as it seems. There’s a logic to your score, and you have the power to change it.

So let’s break it down.

What is a Credit Score?

A credit score is a way for lenders to determine your “creditworthiness.” In other words, your “you-can-trust-me-to-pay-back-your-money”-ness.

Because you know whether someone can trust you with their money. But financial institutions don’t know you like you do.

Lenders need a way to decide if you’re safe to lend to. So your score tells them the story of your financial habits.

How Is My Credit Score Calculated?

There are a couple different types of credit scores, but the numbers we’ll use here reflect FICO scores (the most widely used credit score for most lenders).

Credit scores range between 0 and 850. More than 740 is great, and a score of less than 700 begins to limit your options.

This number is calculated by looking at five main pieces of information:

  • Credit mix
  • New Credit
  • Credit History
  • Payment history
  • Amounts owed

Credit Mix

Close to 10% of your score is based on the mix of credit you already have.

Do you have seven credit cards?

Or zero?

Do you have a car payment, a mortgage, student loans, personal loans?

Typically, the more diverse your lines of credit are, the better it is for your score.

New Credit

Around 10% is based on “new credit,” or how often you get credit inquiries or open a new line of credit.

New credit can temporarily lower your score. So for example, if you buy a new car, you’ll probably have trouble securing a loan for a property right away.

Length of Credit History

About 15% of your score is calculated based on how long you’ve had your lines of credit.

If you opened your first line of credit less than 5 years ago, you’ll have a lower score than someone whose credit is 40 years old.

Amounts Owed

These last two categories are the most important. They make up two-thirds of your credit score.

About 30% of your score is determined by something called amounts owed. Amounts owed is about your debt. More specifically, it’s about how much of your available credit you’re using.

For example, let’s say your credit card has a max of $1,000. You buy a new set of tires and brakes, so now you owe $1,000 on your card. You’re using 100% of your $1,000 limit – you’re maxed out.

The story creditors see when they look at you is that you’re not managing your credit well. They’ll assume you won’t manage other loans well either, so you get a lower score.

But let’s look at another situation.

Say you got a different credit card with a max of $5,000. That same borrowed $1,000 has a way different effect on your credit score. You’re only using 20% of your credit line, and you’re leaving 80% at your disposal. Creditors like that story. So you get a higher score.

Payment History

The biggest amount of your score, up to 35%, is based on your payment history.

Payment history is exactly what it sounds like:

  • How are you paying your bills?
  • Do you always pay on time?
  • Have you had any bankruptcies?

Financial institutions can see this information, and it’s the top factor they consider. At the end of the day, lenders want to know: Will you pay them back? On time?

Need More Information?

Your score is incredibly important to keep on your radar. Especially when you’re investing in real estate.

It’s not a made up number that has no effect on your life. But it’s also not as difficult to understand as it may seem at first.

For more tips on building good credit and maximizing real estate investment leverage, check out these helpful videos on our Youtube Channel.

You can also download our Credit Score Checklist at this link.

Happy investing.

Investing in Real Estate with Zero Down

3 Ways to Start Investing in Real Estate with Zero Down

Is investing in Real Estate with Zero Down for real?

No money to put down on your first investment? That shouldn’t stop you.

Use these 3 tips to get started.

You don’t have enough savings. After all, flipping is how you want to start making money, right? And you want to begin that real estate investment journey now.

But if you don’t have the money to begin with… how are you even supposed to start?

We see people do it every day. Here are the 3 main ways people have made successful real estate careers with zero money down.

  1. Get a HELOC

    If you already own a house, the first tactic you should use to get money for real estate is to get a HELOC.

    HELOC stands for “home equity line of credit.” It’s basically a second mortgage that works like a line of credit that you can use and pay off over and over again. You’re able to use it for multiple properties.

    You could get a HELOC from credit unions or banks. We usually send our clients to credit unions because they tend to have better options for HELOCs. A credit union will likely give you:

    • A longer term
    • Fixed rates
    • A little more money

    If you already own a home, go to a local credit union and ask them about a HELOC first.

  2. Start a Partnership

    But what if you don’t have a house, so you can’t get a HELOC? A partnership might be your next best option. There are two routes you can go.

    Family or Friends

    You can ask a family member or friend to be a money partner. They can provide you with the cash to use for a property’s down payment, or for the repairs of your flip.

    The close and personal aspect of partnering with someone you know can be the best option for some people. In other cases, it’s nice to partner with a person or entity who’s not so personal.

    Outside Partner

    You could also look for an outside partner.

    For example, Hard Money Mike partners with people who find good deals but don’t have the money to make that first purchase. We help them finance the whole amount so they can get into their first two or three deals. After letting us help fund their first three deals, most people come out with enough money to do their own down payment and repair costs on their next property, with no partner.

    Beginning investors can make their business independent quickly when they seek out the right partner to get them started.

  3. Use a credit card

    Many people hesitate to use a credit card to fund their investments – for good reason. But when done right, a 0% credit card can be the simplest way to start investing with no money down.

    What are the wrong ways to use a credit card for a fix-and-flip?

    • Getting a credit card with a high APR.
    • Using the card to go out and have fun.
    • Not paying back the charges you put on the card.

    If you’re smart, it can be easy to use a credit card the right way. Start with a 0% APR card. Understand that it’s a tool for your business, so treat it that way. Only use the card for repairs, contractors, and other costs associated with your flip.

    Take out the money, sell the property, then clear the card back to zero before moving onto your next project. Don’t let the debt accumulate. Don’t keep a balance from deal to deal. This is where credit card use falls through for most investors. They don’t use the money from the sale to fully pay off the card, and it gets out of hand fast.

    But if you do it right, a credit card works as a great way to help beginners get the funds needed to start in real estate.

What Are Other Ways to Investing in Real Estate with Zero Down?

Clients come to us wanting to get into real estate but think they need money in the bank. That’s not always the case.

Here are the 3 key ways we see people start their investments with no money:

  1. If you already have a mortgage, get a HELOC.
  2. Start with money from family, a friend, or an outside partner.
  3. Use a 0% credit card to fund the costs of your investment.

These aren’t the only ways we’ve seen people succeed with a new real estate career.

Want even more ways to get into flipping and property investment with zero down? Download our free checklist, or check out these videos on our YouTube channel.

Happy investing

Investing in Real Estate with Zero Down