Archive for April, 2012

Accurate Credit Bureau Gives Laptops to Wounded Warriors

April 25, 2012

Bastrop- Accurate Credit Bureau website “Likes” are translating into gifts for disabled veterans of the US Armed Forces.  For every 500 “Likes” the website receives, Accurate Credit Bureau will donate a laptop to a wounded veteran.  The small Tenant Screening Company is located in Bastrop TX, but is making visits to San Antonio’s Brooke Army Medical Center to host the give-aways. Donations are being made to veterans of the United States Army, Navy, Marines Corp, and Air Force.

Accurate Credit Bureau specializes in tenant credit and background screening for landlords and real estate agents. The team at Accurate has recently delved into the social media spectrum, creating a facebook page and company blog through WordPress. Eager to see the results of their efforts, a “Like” button was installed on the company’s website, accuratecredit.com. This button, when clicked by a facebook user, will add a “Like” to Accurate’s website as well as show on that user’s facebook page, informing their friends.

Having worked closely with many disabled veterans, Accurate Credit Bureau Founder and CEO, Jeff Bader, had the idea to donate a laptop with every 500 Likes. He says “Giving a wounded hero a laptop allows them to reconnect with their battle buddies, friends and family as they heal and get better.”

The 1,000 mark is quickly approaching and the company is in preparations for the next give-away. Make sure to check the Accurate Credit Blog for updates and photos.

Understanding Bankruptcy

It is more and more common to encounter a bankruptcy filing when screening new applicants for your vacancy. It’s important to know and understand the different types of bankruptcy filings and how they can affect your decision.  Bankruptcy essentially wipes out the debts amassed by an individual or business by offering creditors partial payment through the transfer of assets. There are three types of bankruptcy filings.

Chapter 7 – A widely used form of bankruptcy among business and real estate owners, Chapter 7 deals with the liquidation of assets. For example, if a business files for chapter 7, they must cease operations, sell off their assets (e.g. inventory, land, etc) to pay for part of the debt, and go out of business. If an individual files for Chapter 7, they must also liquidate assets they own such as real estate, automobiles, or recreational merchandise (boats, ATVs, etc).  It is common for landlords to come across chapter 7 filings because individuals who had to sell their home will be looking for a place to rent.

Chapter 11- Usually only seen in the corporate world, Chapter 11 gives a business the opportunity to restructure their debts and reorganize their assets. The business can then start anew as long as it honors the obligations set forth as part of the new structure.

Chapter 13- Another form common among prospective tenants is Chapter 13. This is when an individual must reorganize their finances under direct supervision of the court. The debtor must submit for approval a plan to repay all debts to creditors within three to five years. This can be problematic for landlords because up to %100 of the individual’s income can be used to repay the debts. However, an individual is likely to declare Chapter 13 over Chapter 7 in order to maintain control of their assets such as real estate. Since Chapter 13 offers a court approved time frame to pay back all debts, liquidation of assets is not mandated.

A bankruptcy will affect an individual’s credit report. All debts charged off in the bankruptcy will no longer negatively affect the credit score of the individual. In fact, they will now have an opportunity to build a higher credit score. When reviewing a tenant credit check containing a bankruptcy, it is helpful to look at other pertinent information. For example, how is their financial behavior post bankruptcy? Have they established a better payment record? Are they amassing another number of debts? Knowing as much as you can about bankruptcy and its different forms will help you to be an effective landlord and make well-informed decisions. Remember to call us at 512 285 6078 for any questions regarding your report. Thanks for reading.

Sincerely,

Barret McCormick

Director of Operations

Accurate Credit Bureau

New Packages Available Soon!

Hello and thank you as always for visiting Accurate Credit Bureau. We are pleased to announce the addition of several new packages and are excited to be branching out into new markets. Beginning on April 18, 2012, we will offer comprehensive and specialized background reports for those seeking to hire Nurses/Caretakers, baby sitters, or volunteers/employees for nonprofit organizations. Similar to our tenant screening packages, these new reports will be available in three grades. They are as follows…

Nurse/Caretaker

  • Nursing Preferred: MedCLEAR ®, Bankruptcy, Liens, Judgments, Suits, SSN Verification, Background Search (Prior names, Prior Addresses).    $19.95
  • Nursing Comprehensive:  MedCLEAR ®, Multi-State Criminal Record Report, Sex Offender Search, Multi-State Felony Search, Bankruptcy, Liens, Judgments, Suits, SSN Verification, Background Search (Prior names, Prior Addresses)  $29.95
  • Nursing Complete:  MedCLEAR ®, Multi-State Criminal Record Report, Sex Offender Search, Multi-State Felony Search, Bankruptcy, Liens, Judgments, Suits, SSN Verification, Background Search (Prior names, Prior Addresses), Manual County and Misdemeanor search. $60.00

*MedCLEAR ® provides sanction and disciplinary information on healthcare individuals and organizations

 

Non-Profit

  • Safety 1st:  Designed for volunteer and non-profit organizations based on the full name and aliases used by the volunteer. $ 9.95
  • Non-Profit Check Level 2:  Safety 1st, Bankruptcy, Liens, Judgments, Suits, SSN Verification, Background Search (Prior names, Prior Addresses).  $19.95
  • Non-Profit Check Level 3:  Safety 1st, Multi-State Criminal Record Report, Sex Offender Search, Multi-State Felony Search, Bankruptcy, Liens, Judgments, Suits, SSN Verification, Background Search (Prior names, Prior Addresses) $29.95
  • Non-Profit Check Level 4: Safety 1st, Multi-State Criminal Record Report, Sex Offender Search, Multi-State Felony Search, Bankruptcy, Liens, Judgments, Suits, SSN Verification, Background Search (Prior names, Prior Addresses), Manual County and Misdemeanor search.   $60.00

 

New for Landlords

  • Registry CHECK: -tenant-records, past court actions, prior landlord inquiries, and landlord-reported history.

We look forward to helping you with all of your background screening needs. These packages will be available beginning April 18th, 2012.If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to call us at 512 285 6078. Thanks for reading.

Barret McCormick

Director of Operations

Accurate Credit Bureau

How to build and maintain good credit

Understanding how to build and maintain good credit is a subject that should be well versed, but is often ignored or overlooked. Having a good credit record will help signify to lenders that you are able to pay and manage your debts responsibly. It will make purchasing a car, buying/ renting a home, or qualifying for a loan a much easier process. It will also save you money because you will qualify for lower interest rates. Several factors affect your credit rating. Following are some good tips to keep in mind while building your credit score.

  • ·         Pay your bills on time.
    • o    Payment history is integral to building a good credit score. Payments made 30, 60, 90, and 120+ days past due will reflect on your credit report and significantly lower your score.
    • o   Failure to pay on an overdue account may lead to the account being “charged off as bad debt.”
    • o   Once an account is charged off as bad debt, a collection agency may pick up the debt and attempt to collect on it.  Now you will have a charge-off AND a collection on your credit report.

 

  • ·         Maintain a low current balance to your available credit.
    • o   It is recommended to keep your balance at or below 30% of your credit limit. For example, if you have a credit card with a $750 limit, it would be a good idea to keep your balance from going above $225.
    • o   Keeping a low current balance will help to indicate that you are not overspending or accruing debts beyond your means.

 

  • ·         Do not amass any public records.
    • o   Bankruptcies, Lawsuits, Liens, and Judgments are displayed in the public record section of your credit report.
    • o   Not having these items on your credit report will increase your credit worthiness considerably.
    • o   Depending on the item, public records may show on your credit report for 7 to 15 years.

 

  • Building a good credit report takes time.
    • The longer you maintain your accounts, the higher your score will be. Establishing long-term accounts with consistent payments will positively affect your credit score in that it will indicate stability and commitment to pay what you owe.  Lenders want to be assured that their client’s payments can be made consistently and on time.
    • Consumers new to credit will really see the benefits of maintaining a good credit record around the three year mark when their score is in the top percentile.
    • New credit users will generally have lower limits until a proven track record of payment is demonstrated. Having low limits can negatively affect your credit score as it indicates a lack of experience with managing high limits. However, consistent and on time payments will help to raise your limits, and thus raise your score. Having high limits with low balances will demonstrate financial responsibility and indicate to creditors that you are able to be trusted.

 

  • Inquiries can have a negative impact on your score.
    • Inquiries occur when a lender reviews your credit report.
    • Too many inquiries may demonstrate to other lenders that you are trying to overspend or are accumulating too much debt.
    • Each inquiry remains on your credit report for 2 years.

The importance of maintaining a good credit record cannot be overstated. There are several credit monitoring programs available that can help consumers keep an eye on their credit report as it grows and fluctuates. These programs usually charge a small fee, but prove to be worth it… especially while trying to build credit. It is always recommended that you check your credit report at least once a year to make note of any changes, both good and bad. Consumers are entitled to one free credit report a year through www.annualcreditreport.com, a government sponsored website. Knowing what factors impact your credit score will be very beneficial in your quest to build an outstanding credit record. For any further inquiry, please email us at accuratecb@accuratcredit.com or call us at 512 285 6078. Thanks for reading.

 

Sincerely,

Barret McCormick

Director of Operations

Accurate Credit Bureau

 

A Landlord’s Most Important Resource – The Handyman

Being a landlord can quickly become quite a daunting endeavor. There are many more aspects of being a landlord than simply showing up to collect a rent check. Accruing the right list of resources can help to make the job much simpler, run more smoothly, and save you time. The first, and perhaps most important resource a landlord can have is a reliable handyman.

Things are going to break either by natural causes, or clumsy accidents. Having the right handy man or handyman service to quickly address and fix the problem should be a top priority among landlords. The happier your tenants are, the happier you will be. When looking for a handyman or handyman service, versatility is the main attribute you will want to search for. You will want someone who can fix everything from the air conditioning, to the dishwasher, to the door hinges, or holes in the wall. Many of these types of handymen are independent contractors and work locally, thus providing the opportunity to really cultivate a good rapport. Their skill set will be more versatile, more cost effective, and generally a much higher quality work will be performed.  Maintaining a good relationship with your handyman is vital because they will be more reliable, and able to help if you find yourself in a jam. Larger companies can be more difficult to work with for a variety of reasons. Scheduling is often a slow and arduous process. Estimates will have to be preformed, then work dates scheduled, parts ordered, and not to mention dealing with overworked and underpaid employees.  You may deal with the same person only once and therefore losing out on a very beneficial relationship. Handymen who run their own businesses or independently contract are often more pleasant to deal with on almost every end of the spectrum. This is because any negative reviews can quickly put them out of business. Therefore they often work harder and more efficiently in order to foster good customer relations. Speaking of reviews, angieslist.com is a great resource to compare and review most types of contracting work. Google reviews and yelp.com are also ample resources.

Finding the right handyman or handyman service is the first thing any new landlord should do. This advice should also apply to those who have been in the business for any number of years. One thing you can be sure of is that things will need to be fixed, and having them fixed promptly and correctly will only help to make your business run smoother, while maintaining great relations with your tenants. Thanks for reading.

 

Sincerely,

Barret McCormick

Director of Operations

Accurate Credit Bureau

 

General Landlord Obligations

Following is a checklist of things you must accomplish before, during, and after occupancy for your tenants and yourself: 

  1. Property: The Property must be in livable condition. 
  2. Repairs:  Must be made before the tenant moves in.  Also, any repairs during occupancy must be fixed by you, the landlord..
  3. Utilities:  Do not turn off your tenant’s water, electricity, or gas.  Make sure to inform your tenant when the disconnect will occur upon their move in. They will need proper time to transfer the utilities into their name.
  4. Move: If you plan to sell or transfer ownership of your property you MUST notify your tenants of the change immediately.
  5. State by State Statutes:  Each state has its own laws.  NOLO has a great posting of each one  http://www.nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/chart-landlord-tenant-state-laws-29016.html 

Remember that it’s your business.  You want to make sure you’re not liable for anything, and following these basic principles is a start.  You will want to look up your individual state’s laws as well. 

 

Thanks,

 

Brandon C Varn

President Accurate Credit 

DIY – Siding

I remember buying my first house with my wife.  We went through hundreds of listings and most of the time we would not even look at a house unless the outside was appealing.  The same thing is happening with your prospective tenants.  If the outside is not appealing they will more than likely not even stop to look at your rental.

That’s why replacing your outside siding can be a great idea.  One, it will increase your home value by at least 90 percent (according to a study done by the DIY network).  And two, it will allow you to charge more for your rental basically paying for itself.  This may seem daunting to your everyday DIY landlord, but in reality is an easy project provided you have the right tools for the job.  Vinyl siding is what you will want to use as it is much cheaper than other siding running between two and six dollars per square foot.  An average home is between thirteen hundred and twenty five hundred square feet to work with.  Doing it your self will run you between twenty six hundred and five thousand dollars.  If you paid for someone, that cost would be between seventy eight hundred and fifteen thousand dollars.  The biggest draw to vinyl is it’s easy upkeep.  A simple rinse is all you need.  No laborious painting upkeep needed.

Another siding option would be aluminum siding which for the same square footage listed above would cost you between three thousand and eight thousand dollars.  Wood and fiber cement would be your last real choice.  If you decided on wood and fiber cement, you’re looking to spend between six thousand and eight thousand dollars.  The maintenance involved in wood siding is very high.

As you can see Vinyl siding is the most logical choice.  It is easy to install and easy to upkeep.  The value you get from installing siding is not measurable as the better looking house will always get the tenants you want.

 

Brandon C Varn

President

Accurate Credit Bureau