What to Do After the Equifax Data Breach

(via Thefederalsavingsbank.com )

On Sept. 7, credit bureau Equifax announced it discovered a data breach, which gave hackers access to personal information on about 143 million U.S. consumers, plus that of some Canadian and U.K. citizens.

The data breach lasted from mid-May through July. Hackers could see names, dates of birth, addresses, Social Security numbers and some driver’s license numbers. Further, about 209,000 U.S. consumers’ credit card numbers and about 182,000 U.S. consumers’ dispute documents –
which contain personal identifying information – were accessed.

In short, hackers may have accessed enough information to open unauthorized accounts or lines of credit.

Consumers can protect themselves by taking matters into their own hands. Here’s what you can do to keep your personal and financial information under wraps:

Step 1: Find out if you were affected

Equifax created a website – www.equifaxsecurity2017.com – so consumers could determine if they were one of the 143 million whose personal information was accessed. The site requires your last name and the final six digits of your Social Security number.

Whenever you’re entering sensitive information – partial Social Security numbers, credit card numbers, or answering any security questions – it’s not wise to be on a public Wi-Fi network. Do this at home or on a secure network you trust; the hotspot at your favorite cafe doesn’t count.

Security blogger Brian Krebs wrote that some consumers found that, after entering the same information at different times, received different results. Krebs notes that it might be prudent to just assume that you are one of the many who were affected.

Step 2: Pull your credit report

There’s an easy way consumers can find out if someone has tried to open an account or line of credit in their name. This is through annualcreditreport.com, a website mandated by Congress so that consumers can access one free credit report every year from each of the major three credit bureaus: Equifax, TransUnion and Experian.

Everyone should make a habit of doing this anyway. Now is the perfect time to start if you aren’t doing this already.

Step 3: Sign up for credit monitoring

Equifax is offering free credit monitoring services to consumers through www.equifaxsecurity2017.com. Krebs explains that these types of services alert you if someone steals your identity, but doesn’t prevent the theft from occurring in the first place.

Still, it can help you take the right steps in the aftermath of identity theft.

Step 4: Initiate a credit freeze

A credit freeze prevents anyone who has your personal information (yourself included) from opening an account or line of credit in your name. This is the most secure way to protect yourself from fraud or identity theft.

According to the Federal Trade Commission, to initiate a credit freeze, you need to contact each of the three credit bureaus individually by phone. Here are their numbers:

Equifax: 1-800-349-9960
TransUnion: 1-888-397-3742
Experian: 1-888-909-8872

You’ll need to provide information like your name, Social Security number, address and birth date.

When you freeze your credit, you’ll receive a unique PIN. This is the key you’ll use to unlock your credit if you decide to open a new account. Keep this in a secure location.

If you have any questions about how this breach may affect the mortgage lending process, reach out to The Federal Savings Bank.

I specialize in helping clients purchase and refinance homes in all 50 states.
I can finance your primary residence, vacation home, and investment property.
Please call or email me today if I can help you or anyone you know!

 

Brian Kohlstedt Photo Brian Kohlstedt
Senior Vice President, NMLS# 216947
direct:(312) 738-8440
fax:(312) 491-5303
briank@thefederalsavingsbank.com
http://www.thefederalsavingsbank.com/briankohlstedt
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Number of Buyers Putting Down Less Than 10% Hits 7-Year High

Number of Buyers Putting Down Less Than 10% Hits 7-Year High | Keeping Current Matters

According to Black Knight Financial Service’s Mortgage Monitor Report, 1.5 million Americans have purchased a home with down payments under than 10% over the last 12 months. This is great news for buyers as this marks a 7-year high.

Many mortgage programs offered by agencies like Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae allow buyers to put down as low as 3% to purchase their dream homes. The strength of the housing market has aided buyers who used low-down-payment programs to buy. As a recent CNBC article points out,

“Defaults on recent low down payment loans, so far, are slow, but that is as much a factor of the good credit quality as it is the strength of the housing market. Home prices are rising incredibly fast, meaning those borrowers are gaining equity in their homes quickly.”

Low down payments aren’t just great for first-time homebuyers. These programs have allowed homeowners who want to capitalize on the equity they have in their homes to use the profit from their sale to pay off high-interest credit cards, fund education or even start a business.

According to a new Census Report, the Annual Survey of Entrepreneurs , home equity was used to start 7.3% of all businesses in the United States, which equates to over 284,000! The industries that saw the most growth from home equity are accommodation & food services, manufacturing and, retail trade.

Bottom Line

Gone are the days of ‘20% down or no mortgage.’ What could you build with the equity in your house? Contact us today – (708) 529-5839 cell –  real estate professionals who can evaluate your ability to achieve your dreams. We work with many first-time home buyers.

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Study: FSBOs Don’t Save Real Estate Commission

For sale by owner? Forgetaboutit. Okay, really, it has been proven that not only all of the previously discussed items about properties for sale by owner aka FSBOs (it wasn’t too long ago, that we shared this post about why working with an experienced Real Estate Agent is better than trying to sell by owner) but FSBOs end up not gaining anything and sometimes costing the seller more!

Study: FSBOs Don’t Save Real Estate Commission | Keeping Current Matters

One of the main reasons why For Sale By Owners (FSBOs) don’t use a real estate agent is because they believe they will save the commission an agent charges for getting their house on the market and selling it. A new study by Collateral Analytics, however, reveals that FSBOs don’t actually save anything, and in some cases may be costing themselves more, by not listing with an agent.

In the study, they analyzed home sales in a variety of markets in 2016 and the first half of 2017. The data showed that:

“FSBOs tend to sell for lower prices than comparable home sales, and in many cases below the average differential represented by the prevailing commission rate.” (emphasis added)

Why would FSBOs net less money than if they used an agent?

The study makes several suggestions:

  • “There could be systematic bias on the buyer side as well. FSBO sales might attract more strategic buyers than MLS sales, particularly buyers who rationalize lower-priced bids on with the logic that the seller is “saving” a traditional commission. Such buyers might specifically search for and target sellers who are not getting representational assistance from agents.” In other words, ‘bargain lookers’ might shop FSBOs more often.
  • “Experienced agents are experts at ‘staging’ homes for sale” which could bring more money for the home.
  • “Properties listed with a broker that is a member of the local MLS will be listed online with all other participating broker websites, marketing the home to a much larger buyer population. And those MLS properties generally offer compensation to agents who represent buyers, incentivizing them to show and sell the property and again potentially enlarging the buyer pool.” If more buyers see a home, the greater the chances are that there could be a bidding war for the property.

Three conclusions from the study:

  1. FSBOs achieve prices significantly lower than those from similar properties sold by Realtors using the MLS.
  2. The differential in selling prices for FSBOs when compared to MLS sales of similar properties is about 5.5%.
  3. The sales in 2017 suggest the average price was near 6% lower for FSBO sales of similar properties.

Bottom Line

If you are thinking of selling, FSBOing may end up costing you money instead of saving you money.

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Homer Glen Real Estate Market Update

How’s the Homer Glen real estate market?

Click play to view the Homer Glen Real Estate Market Update for July 2017.

Looking to buy or sell real estate in Homer Glen or the Chicago suburbs? Judy Glockler is consistently one of the top producing agents in the area. Contact us today: 708-529-5839

Make sure to like our new Facebook page to be notified of posts and great real estate and area related information!

 

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Hey, Millennial Homeowners: It May Be Time to Sell

Contrary to what many believe, Millennials are not the ‘renter’ generation. Millennials purchased a larger percentage (34%) of homes in the U.S. than any other age group in 2017 and the most recent Census Bureau report shows that the homeownership rate among Millennials is finally on the rise.

Many Millennials took advantage of post housing crash prices and the First-Time Homebuyers’ Tax Credit and jumped into homeownership in 2010. If you are one of these buyers, now may be the time to sell for many reasons. Here are a few:

1. Equity Build-Up

Home prices have been on the rise since the beginning of 2012 and your house may have appreciated by more than you think. ATTOM Data Solutions, in their Q2 2017 U.S. Home Sales Report revealed that:

“…homeowners who sold in the second quarter realized an average price gain of $51,000 since purchase — the highest average price gain for home sellers since Q2 2007, when it was $57,000.

The average home seller price gain of $51,000 in Q2 2017 represented an average return of 26 percent on the previous purchase price of the home, the highest average home seller return since Q3 2007, when it was 27 percent.”

2. Projected Home Price Increases

If you just got married or just found out you are about to become a parent, you may have plans to move up a bigger home or perhaps move to a different area. Waiting to buy a more expensive home in this market probably doesn’t make sense. The experts contacted for the Home Price Expectation Survey are projecting home prices to increase by nearly 5% over the next year. Yes, your house’s price will increase but not as much as a home currently valued higher than yours.

3. Projected Interest Rate Increases

The Mortgage Bankers’ Association, Freddie Mac, Fannie Mae and the National Association of Realtors are each projecting mortgage rates to increase over the next year.
Higher PRICES + Higher INTEREST RATES = LARGER MORTGAGE PAYMENTS.

If you are lucky enough to be one of those Millennials who purchased a house in 2010 (or even later), now might be the perfect time to move up to the home of your dreams!

Measuring Your Ability to Achieve the American Dream

Measuring Your Ability to Achieve the American Dream | Keeping Current Matters

Forbes.com recently released the results of their new American Dream Index, in which they measure “the prosperity of the middle class, and…examine which states best support the American Dream.” The monthly index measures several different economic factors, including goods-producing employment, personal and commercial bankruptcies, building permits, startup activity, unemployment insurance claims, labor force participation, and layoffs. The national index score was rounded out to 100 in January and saw a modest jump to 100.5 in February. Alaska represented the lowest score on the index at 80.7, due mostly to the recent collapse in oil prices. Nevada came in with the highest score at 108.8, boosted by big gains in goods-producing jobs and new construction activity. The full results can be seen in the map below.

Measuring Your Ability to Achieve the American Dream | Keeping Current Matters

Forbes Senior Editor Kurt Badenhausen explained why many states saw a boost in the index last month:

“[B]usinesses are hiring in part in anticipation of tax cuts and less regulation… Many areas of the country have experienced strong upticks in employment and construction, as well as declines in unemployment claims since the start of the year.”

Bottom Line

The American Dream, for many, includes being able to own a home of his or her own. With the economy improving in many areas of the country, that dream can finally become a reality.

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How Low Supply + High Demand Impacts the Real Estate Market

How Low Supply & High Demand Impacts the Real Estate Market [INFOGRAPHIC] | Keeping Current Matters

Some Highlights:

  • The concept of Supply & Demand is a simple one. The best time to sell something is when the supply of that item is low & the demand for that item is high!
  • Anything under a 6-month supply is a Seller’s Market!
  • There has not been a 6-months inventory supply since August 2012!
  • Buyer Demand continues to outpace Seller Supply!

New Lenox Real Estate Market Update – February 2017

Click play to view the New Lenox Real Estate Market Update for February 2017.

 

Looking to buy or sell real estate in New Lenox or the Chicago suburbs? Judy Glockler is consistently one of the top producing agents in the area. Contact us today: 708-529-5839

Make sure to like our new Facebook page to be notified of posts and great real estate and area related information!