Did you feel the chill in the air this week as the fog descended and fall made its presence known? BRRR . . . I pulled out a heavy black overcoat and threw it on prior to heading out my door to the Educate Our State luncheon in San Francisco, where I anticipated the weather would be colder still (it was). That dusty coat has been idly sitting at the back of my closet for months, thanks to our glorious California sunshine and fantastic autumn temperatures. (Hey, it's already snowing in other parts of the country. Give thanks.)
Here's the thing, I'm a gal who's all about the pockets and whenever I put on a jacket, I usually find a nice surprise (or two) tucked away, that has been long forgotten. On Wednesday, it was a handyman's business card (always useful), a fabulous lipstick (ohhh-la-la), and a twenty-dollar bill. Eureka!
"Candy-coated popcorn, peanuts and a prize . . . that's what you get in Cracker Jacks".
Don't you love these kind of surprises? (Yes, I do.)
On the other hand, there are those kind of surprises that are far less welcome. Fortunately, with respect to Real Estate, many of these "glitches," such as poor inspections or ambiguous easements, can be somewhat anticipated AND corrected before they turn into ugly negotiating issues down the road. (Don't wait for the Buyer to conduct inspections once in contract. Do these proactively!)
However, some surprises aren't so quickly accommodated or rectified. This week, Brady Thomas, of LaSalle Financial, popped by The GRUBB Company's Tuesday morning office meeting to give us a little POP QUIZ on personal credit scores; the significance of them to you - the borrower - and how they are established and managed over time . . . (Think of these as your own personal, grown-up SAT'S!)
And for those of you just wondering: a "Perfect Credit Score" is 840 points; 760 is considered "excellent;" 720 is "on par;" a score below 700 becomes much more difficult and costly to the borrower; and lastly, a score below 640 doesn't stand a chance of finding legitimate funds anywhere in the banking world. (How's your relationship with with your mother?)
So there you have it. Your Credit Score might not be the most exciting topic on which I've ever spoken, but it's likely to have the biggest impact on your ability to borrow throughout your lifetime. Protect your credit score, nurture it, and honor it, the way you would your children.
On second thought, protect your credit history MORE; your children will have to find their own way eventually. In fact, maybe it's time for them to establish their own credit and get on with it.
Now where'd I put that twenty-dollar bill? I'm going to need it to pay for parking in SF . . . (For more information on credit clarification, click here!)
Julie Gardner, has been writing The Perspective for 15 years and has published more than 600 essays. She is also a frequent contributor to the Sound Off column in the Real Estate section of The San Francisco Chronicle.