Choosing a Fixed Conveyancing Solicitor

Conveyancing is the legal name given to house buying and selling and has subsidised many a solicitors firm over the years.  Conveyancing is the practise in ensuring that a property buyer is going to receive the ‘title’ to the land and so the seller is the owner and has the legal right to sell the property.  Conveyancing ensures there is no factor that would prevent the mortgage or re-sale from going through.  Fixed fee conveyancing prices ensure a fixed price so no unexpected surprises are going to occur, keeping the move as stress as possible.

It will involve the exchange of contracts and the legal completion of title passes.  Part of the process will be the solicitor ensuring that you have good title and so will then arrange the contracts on your behalf.  As well as applying to personal property transfers it can also apply to the movement of bulk commodities such as electricity, sewerage and gas or even water.

The stress of a move is never something we look forward so the added pressure of picking a good legal team can result in added stress.  It’s advisable to ask around your network of friends to see if they’ve any experience and so recommendations.  When choosing a solicitor to carry out conveyancing on your behalf don’t automatically go with the first quote, get a few quotes and research the firm as much as possible.  [Read more...]

Saving For Post Secondary Education

Post secondary education is very expensive in North America and unless you are fairly wealthy will be a worry for most parents. Obviously, not all kids go onto University or College but if they do and you haven’t planned for it you could find yourself with a large financial burden. This would probably happen just when most families are looking at finally having some financial security

A Registered Education Savings Plan – RESP – is vital for your financial health if you have kids who you feel may want to go into post secondary education. An RESP is government sponsored (Registered with Canada Customs and Revenue Agency) and is allowed to grow tax free. Money paid from the plan at maturity may be taxed as income for the student.

The plans are administered by private companies/persons (Promoter) who will collect contributions and invest them accordingly. Up to $4,000 per beneficiary (student) can be contributed per calendar year, with a lifetime limit of $42,000 without any tax implications. Each student may have more than one plan but the limit is strictly per student.

The most important aspect of the RESP’s is that the Government will add 20% to the first $2,000 per calendar year ($400) up to and including the year of the students 17th birthday. This is called the Canada Education Savings Grant (CESG) and any amounts paid in are not included in the annual limit for tax purposes.

The maximum a student can receive from CESG is $7200 over the lifetime of the plan. Any amount of CESG not claimed each year will accumulate as up to $800 can be paid if not previously claimed. If the RESP is not eventually used for educational purposes any CESG payments will have to be repaid to the government.

To apply, the student must be resident in Canada and have a Social Insurance Number (SIN) which must be provided to the promoter at the plan inception. Also, the individual making the contributions will be required to provide their SIN.

[Read more...]

How to Improve Your Credit Score

We’ve all been in the position of not knowing our credit score. Taking control of how credit-worthy banks and other lenders see you is an important part of financial management. We know its wrong that the banks charge those with lower scores, often those who have the least money, the highest rates but it’s part of life and something you can change.

Understanding your Credit Score

Understading how lenders look at you is an important first step to improving it. The FICO Score is probably the best known version in the United States and is reasonably is designed to measure the “risk of default” by looking at all the factors relating to your financial history and balancing these against each other.

How is your FICO Score Calculated?

Payment History

This amounts to about 35% of your FICO score. This part is affected negatively when you miss a payment and positively when you make payments to lenders on time. Keep on top of payments, and if you think you may miss a payment contact your lender in advance and let them know so you can make alternative arrangements.

Credit Use

This is a look at the average use of you make of your credit across all forms of lending and accounts for 30% of the FICO score. The higher the level of total credit you have access to currently and the lower the usage the better your scoring will be. So your score can improve when your lending limit on your credit cards increases or decrease when a loan is paid off.

Your Credit History

Although only 15% is related to this having accounts for longer periods of time will improve your overall FICO score. So having a mortgage will help you to increase your FICO score consistently over time.

Type of Credit and Recent Searches

Between them this accounts for 20% of the overall scoring used by FICO. Did you know that having a mortgage was seen as a better indicator of your credit worthiness than a credit card? Well it is. And if you’ve been applying for lots of credit cards to get that lower interest rate then this could impact your score. After 6 & 12 months the impact that a credit search has on your score tails off; after a year the impact is very low. So be sure you need to change credit cards when you apply for that new introductory rate.

There are aspects that can affect your FICO mortgage credit score that are not taken into account in your traditional FICO credit score. Credit transactions such as child support payments, applications for a payday loan or rent arrears are all additional factors that are taken into account. If your FICO mortgage credit score was 780 rather than 620 you could save $2,352 a year on a $216,000 30 year mortgage. Over the lifetime of the mortgage that would be a saving of £70,560!

As you can see managing your finances and keeping on top of your finances is the only sure way to improve your credit score. So start saving on your outgoings by improving your FICO score today.